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Solitary and quiet, Potter Wasps go about their business paying little attention to their human neighbors.
There are a variety of Potter Wasps in North America. Those in the genus Euodynerus look similar to each other, with some species requiring close inspection to differentiate. Black bodies have a short yellow band above the waist on the thorax. Some species have a pair of yellow dots near this band. A somewhat decorative yellow band sits at the top of the abdomen and a second, plain yellow band is on the lower half. Wings appear black. Black legs have yellow feet. Antennae are black.
All are hunters of caterpillars. A female generally looks for abandoned nests from other types of wasps; it is easier than building one from scratch. Once a nest is obtained, she hunts down a caterpillar, stinging it only to paralyze it. She brings it back to the nest and packs it inside a cell with a fertilized egg. Once the egg hatches, the wasp larva eats away at the caterpillar, eventually killing it. The larva pupates and emerges as a winged adult.
Potter Wasps are not aggressive and generally leave people alone. They may build nests close to human habitats, which could cause more encounters between people and the insect, so removing piles of wood from the exterior of the house can help prevent a population from growing uncomfortably close to high-traffic areas.
Scientific Name: Euodynerus spp.
Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
Size (Adult; Length): 11mm to 18mm (0.43in to 0.70in)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Ant, Bee, and Wasp Anatomy
Antennae: Ants and Bees both have a pair of antennae on the head that senses their surroundings.
Head: The head contains the insect's compound eyes, antennae, and mandibles.
Thorax: Contains various vital parts such as the aorta and nervous system.
Abdomen: Contains various organs including the heart, gut, venom glands, and anus.
Legs: Ants and Bees have three pairs of legs attached to the thorax (center-body section).
NOTE: Ants, Bees and Wasps are part of the Hymenoptera order because they share many similarities.