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Squarehead Wasp (Ectemnius spp.)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Squarehead Wasp



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Image Credit: Elizabeth S. from Weaver, AL
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Though it is a small wasp, the boxy shape of a Squarehead Wasp's head seems almost too large for its body.



Updated: 07/15/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
A rounded cube best describes the head of a Squarehead Wasp. This small flying insect typically reaches a length of 1 cm, just long enough to sit across the nail of a pinky finger. The classic black and yellow coloring is present with most species displaying bright yellow bars by the 'neck' and a yellow band just before the 'waist'. The abdomen has yellow bands as well. Antennae are short and yellow. Legs are also yellow with black 'thighs' and dark feet. The dark wings usually overlap and tuck back over the body when resting or walking.

Females nest in flexible twigs or soft, rotting wood. Flies are captured and stashed with her wasp eggs to serve as a food source for her larvae once they hatch. This type of wasp is small and not generally interested in people. Look for them in or near woodlands.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Hymenoptera
        Family: Crabronidae
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          Genus: Ectemnius
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            Species: spp.
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Ectemnius spp.
Category: Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
Size (Adult; Length): 8mm to 10mm (0.31" to 0.39")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black, yellow
Descriptors: boxy, square, cube, wide, head, bee, wasp, flying, small, tiny
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 8mm (0.3in) and 10mm (0.4in)
Lo: 8mm
Md: 9mm
Hi: 10mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
State of Alabama graphic
State of Arizona graphic
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State of Delware graphic
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State of New England graphic
State of New Jersey graphic
State of New Mexico graphic
State of New York graphic
State of North Carolina graphic
State of North Dakota graphic
State of Ohio graphic
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State of South Carolina graphic
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State of Tennessee graphic
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State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
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State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Squarehead Wasp may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Squarehead Wasp. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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