If you live in Kansas, chances are you’ve seen a wasp or two buzzing around.
But did you know several different types of wasps in Kansas call the area their home? Each species has a unique role in the environment, from predatory to parasitic wasps.
In this blog post, we’ll be taking a closer look at some of Kansas‘s different types of wasps and their role in the local ecosystem.
So, read on to learn more about the types of wasps in Kansas!
1. Potter Wasp
This is the first on our list of types of wasps in Kansas. The Potter Wasp (Eumenes fraternus) is a type of wasp that can be found in Kansas.
This species is known for its mud-like nests, often found on the sides of buildings, trees, and other structures. The Potter Wasp is a solitary species that can grow to be up to 1 inch long.
The Potter Wasp, the starter of this list of the numerous types of wasps in Kansas, feeds primarily on caterpillars and other larvae.
It uses its long, thin antennae to locate potential prey. The female Potter Wasp constructs a nest out of mud or clay. She mixes saliva with the material to form an egg chamber in the center of the nest.
The female lays her eggs in the chamber and seals them with more mud or clay.
The Potter Wasp is an important predator in many ecosystems and plays a vital role in controlling insect pests.
It is an interesting species to observe and provides great opportunities for amateur entomologists to learn more about their local environment.
Although they may be intimidating due to their size, Potter Wasps are not aggressive toward humans and are harmless if left undisturbed.
2. Red Paper Wasp
This is the next on our list of types of wasps in Kansas. The Red Paper Wasp (Polistes spp.) is one of the most common types of wasps in Kansas that you’ll find this summer.
These social insects live in colonies, often constructing nests of chewed wood fiber and paper-like material.
They are recognizable by their reddish color and black wings. They typically measure around 0.75 inches in length and have a wingspan of 1 to 1.5 inches.
Red Paper Wasps feed on other insects and nectar, helping to control garden pests naturally.
As their name suggests, they are also attracted to bright red surfaces. So you may find them congregating on your outdoor furniture or patio umbrellas.
Despite their name, Red Paper Wasps, the second on our list of the various types of wasps in Kansas, are non-aggressive unless provoked.
They will sting if threatened but are otherwise unlikely to cause harm unless an allergy is present.
To minimize the presence of these wasps in your outdoor area, ensure that all food scraps and waste are disposed of properly, and trim any shrubs or plants that may attract them.
3. Ringed Paper Wasp
The Ringed Paper Wasp, or Polistes annularis, is also on Kansas’s list of common types of wasps.
This species typically builds its nests in sheltered locations such as under eaves, around windows, and in other hidden areas.
They are characterized by bright yellow-orange, black coloring, and black rings on the abdomen.
The Ringed Paper Wasp builds communal nests made of paper pulp and is often seen near people, animals, and gardens.
They are aggressive when defending their nests and can be painful if they sting.
That being said, these types of wasps in Kansas rarely attack humans or animals unless they feel threatened.
Though they can sometimes annoy, Ringed Paper Wasps are actually beneficial to the environment.
They are efficient predators of garden pests and help control pest populations.
For this reason, it’s important to try and discourage them from nesting near your home or garden without killing them.
4. Sand Wasp
Sand Wasps, or Bembix spp., are a type of wasp commonly found in Kansas.
These solitary wasps have slender black bodies and bright yellow-orange stripes.
Sand Wasps nest in sandy areas, like river banks and open fields. They dig burrows with their mandibles and line them with a cellophane-like substance.
Sand Wasps feed mainly on nectar and pollen, but they also prey on other insects, such as flies and spiders.
The female Sand Wasp uses her mandibles to catch prey and store it in the burrow for her larvae to feed on.
The larvae pupate and emerge as adult Sand Wasps, one of the types of wasps in Kansas.
Sand Wasps can benefit gardeners, as they help control insect populations by preying on pests.
While these wasps are not aggressive and rarely sting humans, it’s important to exercise caution when dealing with any type of wasps in Kansas.
5. Short-Tailed Ichneumon Wasp
The Short-tailed Ichneumon Wasp (Ophion spp.) is one of the types of wasps in Kansas.
It is a parasitic wasp that feeds on the larvae of other insects and spiders.
These wasps often hover near trees, shrubs, and tall grasses as they search for a suitable host.
They have long, black antennae, and their bodies range from 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch in length.
The female Short-tailed Ichneumon Wasp lays its eggs on the body of its chosen host.
When the eggs hatch, the larvae will feed off the host’s body until it is ready to pupate.
Once pupation is complete, the adult wasps will emerge to start the cycle anew.
While the Short-tailed Ichneumon Wasp may be intimidating to encounter, it poses no danger to humans and should not be killed unless absolutely necessary.
6. Squarehead Wasp
The Squarehead Wasp (Ectemnius spp.) is one of Kansas‘s many types of wasps.
These types of wasps in Kansas are typically black and yellow with a square head, hence the name.
They can grow up to 1/2 inch long and are often mistaken for bees due to their coloration.
Squarehead Wasps are solitary and typically feed on nectar and pollen from flowers.
However, they also hunt insects such as spiders, beetles, and caterpillars, making them beneficial in your garden.
Unlike other types of wasps in Kansas, they do not form colonies or build nests.
In Kansas, Squarehead Wasps can be found throughout the summer months and can even be seen flying around outdoor lights during the evening.
They are not considered a threat and are generally considered harmless to humans and animals.
7. Braconid Wasp
The Braconid Wasp, or Atanycolus spp., is a type of wasp that can be found in the state of Kansas.
This small but mighty insect is an important part of the local environment, playing an important role in the food web and agricultural ecosystems.
Braconid Wasps are parasitoids, meaning they lay their eggs on or inside other insects, such as caterpillars and aphids, to serve as food for the larvae.
This natural form of pest control helps keep populations of certain insect species in check and reduces the need for chemical pesticides in agriculture.
Braconid Wasps also feed on nectar from flowers, helping to promote pollination and a healthy native plant population.
Overall, they are not excluded from our list of Kansas’s different types of wasps!
8. Common Thread-Waisted Wasp
The Common Thread-waisted Wasp is a species of wasp native to Kansas and found throughout the Midwest region of the United States.
These small, slender wasps are a species of digger wasp and typically measure between 13 and 15 millimeters in length.
They are types of wasps in Kansas with distinctive black and yellow striped abdomen and an elongated thorax with a thread-like waist.
The Common Thread-waisted Wasp is a solitary species that lives in areas with plenty of open ground for nesting.
They typically nest in burrows, which they dig themselves using their mandibles.
The female wasps collect the wood pulp, chewed leaves, and sand to build the nest walls while laying their eggs.
The Common Thread-waisted Wasp mainly feeds on caterpillars and other insects, which they use to feed their larvae.
It is not considered a pest since it does not sting humans or damage plants or property.
However, it is a beneficial insect since it helps control pest populations by preying on caterpillars that can damage crops.
9. Cuckoo Wasp
The cuckoo wasp is one of Kansas’s most diverse types of wasps.
This type of wasp is characterized by its black or dark brown body and orange-red markings.
Cuckoo wasps have long, thin bodies and are typically between five and eight millimeters long.
These wasps get their name from laying their eggs inside other wasp species’ nests.
This is so that when the egg hatches, the young wasp will receive food from the host. In Kansas, cuckoo wasps can be found in gardens, meadows, and open woods.
They feed on nectar and pollen from flowers, and they are important pollinators for many plants.
Cuckoo wasps can also benefit humans because they prey on crop pests such as aphids, thrips, and caterpillars.
As such, these particular types of wasps in Kansas can help farmers protect their crops from potential damage.
10. Double-Banded Scoliid Wasp
The Double-banded Scoliid Wasp (Scolia bicincta) is one of Kansas’s many types of wasps.
This species is a medium-sized wasp, measuring about 0.5 inches long, with a thick body and long legs.
Its distinct characteristics include two black stripes on its back and yellowish-orange eyes.
It feeds on nectar and pollen from flowers, particularly those found in wooded areas.
The Double-banded Scoliid Wasp builds its nest in the ground, digging tunnels and creating cells to lay its eggs.
After laying the eggs, the female wasp leaves the nest and does not take part in rearing her offspring.
The larvae feed on dead insects, which is why these wasps are beneficial in helping to control insect pests.
They are also important pollinators, as they help to spread pollen from flower to flower.
11. European Paper Wasp
The European Paper Wasp is one of Kansas’s most common types of wasps.
Its yellow and black coloring, long body, and red legs can identify this species.
The European Paper Wasp can be found in gardens, woods, fields, and other open areas.
They feed on nectar, pollen, and small insects and are important pollinators in the area.
The European Paper Wasp, one of Kansas’s various types of wasps, is known for its impressive nest-building abilities.
These nests are usually suspended from a branch or other support and consist of several vertical cells made of paper.
This species fiercely defends its nest from intruders and can become aggressive if provoked.
However, they are not considered a threat to humans unless the nest is disturbed. It’s best to leave them alone so they can go about their business as part of the natural balance of the environment.
12. Five-banded Thynnid Wasp
The Five-banded Thynnid Wasp (Myzinum quinquecintum) is not excluded from types of wasps in Kansas.
It is a small, black-bodied wasp with five yellow bands across its abdomen and an orange-yellow face.
This species typically has a length of around 6-10 millimeters and is generally considered beneficial due to its role in controlling plant pests.
The Five-banded Thynnid Wasp is commonly seen in gardens, woodlands, and fields throughout Kansas during summer.
It feeds on the nectar of flowers and can also prey on small insects such as aphids, scales, and thrips.
The Five-banded Thynnid Wasp is an important predator of many types of garden pests, making it an important part of the natural balance in your garden ecosystem.
13. Four-Toothed Mason Wasp
The Four-toothed Mason Wasp, also known as Monobia quadridens, is a species of wasp native to the state of Kansas.
Its bright yellow and black coloring and four-toothed mandibles make this species identifiable.
The female wasp builds her nest out of the mud and can be found in fields and pastures, especially near walls and tree stumps.
The Four-toothed Mason Wasp is a solitary species and uses its mandibles to chew pieces of mud.
Next, it mixes them with saliva, which she molds into a cell and lays an egg in. She also lines the cell’s interior with food, such as caterpillars or insects.
Once the egg hatches, the larva feeds on the food provided until it matures into adulthood.
The female wasp will seal the cell and repeat the process for other cells, often filling up an entire nest.
Let’s proceed with the list of Kansas’s different types of wasps.
14. Giant Ichneumon Wasp
The Giant Ichneumon Wasp, also known as Megarhyssa spp., is a species of parasitic type of wasps in Kansas and other parts of the United States.
They have long, slender bodies and antennae longer than their body length. They are typically brown in color with black markings on the head and thorax.
The female Giant Ichneumon Wasp uses its long ovipositor to drill through wood and lay eggs inside beetle larvae.
This process helps control the population of certain types of beetles.
The adult wasps feed on nectar and pollen from flowers, providing important pollination services for plants.
In addition, their larvae provide an important food source for birds and other wildlife.
15. Great Black Wasp
The Great Black Wasp, also known as Sphex pensylvanicus, is one of Kansas’s most common types of wasps.
It is a solitary hunting wasp that feeds on caterpillars and other insects, making it a beneficial species. These wasps can be found in the state’s grasslands, meadows, fields, and gardens.
The Great Black Wasp is usually identified by its black color and distinct yellow stripes on its abdomen.
The female wasps are slightly larger than males and have an average body length of 18-20mm.
Moreover, these particular types of wasps in Kansas have long and powerful mandibles for capturing their prey.
They also have reddish-brown legs with orange bands near the joints. During mating season, the males often hover in circles around the females.
16. Great Golden Digger Wasp
The Great Golden Digger Wasp is one of Kansas’s most commonly seen types of wasps.
These large, black, and yellow wasps can be found in rural and urban areas, and they prefer to inhabit areas with sandy soil.
They are active from late spring through early fall and feed on nectar and plant pollen.
The Great Golden Digger Wasp benefits the environment, as predators hunt other insects, such as caterpillars and aphids.
The Great Golden Digger Wasp, present on our list of the types of wasps in Kansas, has a unique nesting behavior.
Females construct their nests in the ground using tunnels that lead to chambers where they lay their eggs.
The adult wasps guard the nest until the eggs hatch and the young emerge.
The wasp larvae feed on other insects brought to them by their mother or father.
After they reach adulthood, the wasps will search for food and seek out mates.
The Great Golden Digger Wasp is an important part of the ecosystem and helps keep insect populations balanced.
17. Horntail Wasp
This is the next on our list of types of wasps in Kansas. The Horntail Wasp is a type of wasp found in Kansas and the surrounding region.
These large, black-and-yellow-striped wasps are most often found around trees and shrubs. They feed on woody plants like oak, maple, willow, and fruit trees.
The adult female wasp uses her long ovipositor to bore into the wood to create a nest.
The larva develops inside the wood and pupates before emerging as an adult.
These wasps can be recognized by their long antennae, wide black wings, and yellow markings on their thorax and abdomen.
When disturbed, they will fly away quickly with a loud buzzing sound. They are types of wasps in Kansas that are generally solitary and non-aggressive.
Despite their intimidating looks, they are relatively harmless to humans and other animals.
18. Large Four-Spotted Scoliid Wasp
The Large Four-spotted Scoliid Wasp (Pygodasis quadrimaculata) is a common species of wasp found in the state of Kansas.
This species of wasp is fairly large, measuring up to one inch in length, with a brownish-black coloration and four yellow spots on its back.
These types of wasps in Kansas are found on the ground, feeding on small caterpillars and beetle larvae.
Large Four-spotted Scoliid Wasps are solitary insects, meaning they do not form colonies like many other species.
They do not typically sting humans but can be quite aggressive if disturbed or threatened.
For this reason, it is important to be aware of these wasps when walking outside, especially in areas they inhabited.
19. Metric Paper Wasp
This wasp species have long antennae, usually black with yellow or red stripes.
They create paper-like nests made of wood fiber and saliva on the underside of structures such as eaves, decks, and porches.
Metric Paper Wasps are mainly solitary insects that feed primarily on nectar and other arthropods.
They often feed on caterpillars, spiders, and other arthropods in their habitats.
Adult wasps drink nectar from flowers and are important pollinators for many plants.
They are also one of the types of wasps in Kansas that are beneficial predators in agricultural areas by helping to control insect pests.
20. Noble Scoliid Wasp
Next up on this list of the numerous types of wasps in Kansas is the noble scoliid wasp (Scolia noblitata).
This species of wasp is typically seen in the spring and summer months, and they are known to feed on other insects such as moths, beetles, and ants.
The noble scoliid wasp is an impressive insect with a dark brown body and pale yellow wings. Their bodies are large and long, up to 2 inches long.
The noble scoliid wasp is an important part of the local ecosystem in Kansas, as it helps keep populations of other insects in check.
They also help pollinate flowers, which benefits plants and local wildlife.
While the noble scoliid wasp is not known to be aggressive towards humans, it’s important to use caution around them since they can sting if threatened or disturbed.
Taking simple safety measures like keeping your distance and not provoking them will help ensure everyone’s safety when enjoying the outdoors.
21. Blue-Winged Wasp
Lastly, the Blue-winged Wasp (Scolia dubia) is one of the types of wasps in Kansas.
It is a large, black, and yellow wasp that can be seen flying around from late May to early August.
They are considered beneficial as they feed on other insects like caterpillars and aphids.
The female Blue-winged Wasp has black wings and a body with yellow stripes on the abdomen.
The male is similar but has blue markings instead of yellow. They feed by digging small holes in the ground to reach their prey.
Also, depending on the species, they build nests in trees, logs, or the ground. They are often seen hovering around flowers, searching for nectar and pollen.
Have you ever been out in your backyard and heard a loud buzzing sound? Chances are, it was a wasp!
Kansas is home to various species of wasps, and getting to know them can help you understand their behavior and how to manage them.
In this blog post, we looked at the different types of wasps in Kansas that you might come across and how to identify them.
Summer is here, and the warm weather brings out all sorts of insects. In Kansas, one insect you might encounter this summer is a wasp.
Wasps can benefit the environment but can also be a nuisance if they nest near your home or other areas you frequent.
If you’re curious about the types of wasps in Kansas that you may come across this summer, read the article above to learn more.