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 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, which are 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 the list of common types of wasps in Kansas. 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 quite painful if they sting. That being said, these are types of wasps in Kansas that 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 to keep pest populations under control. 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 types of wasps in Kansas.
5. Scoliid Wasp
The Scoliid Wasp (Campsomeris plumipes fossulana) is one of the common types of wasp in Kansas this summer. These wasps are large, measuring around 2 inches in length, and are typically black or dark blue with yellow stripes on their bodies. Scoliid Wasps feed mainly on caterpillars, although they occasionally attack other insects. These particular types of wasps in Kansas prefer to build their nests in wooded areas near their prey.
Scoliid Wasps benefit gardens and other outdoor spaces since they can help control insect pests. In addition to controlling insect populations, these wasps can be beneficial pollinators for your garden plants. They have even been known to pollinate tomato plants!
If you come across a nest of Scoliid Wasps, which are equally one of the types of wasps in Kansas, it is best to leave them alone. These wasps are generally not aggressive and will not attack unless provoked. However, if the nest is in an area that could pose a danger to people or animals, you may want to call a professional to remove the nest.
6. 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 are often seen hovering near trees, shrubs, and tall grasses as they search for a suitable host. They have long, black antennae, and their bodies range in size 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 of 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.
7. Spider Wasp
The Spider Wasp (Auplopus) is a species of wasp native to Kansas. It is a solitary, predatory species that typically prey on spiders and other arthropods. This wasp is generally metallic green or bronze in color, with a black-tipped abdomen. An adult spider wasp’s size ranges from 8-15 mm in length.
Females construct underground burrows lined with mud and debris cells where they will lay their eggs. After the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the paralyzed prey that the female provides in each cell before emerging as adults. While spider wasps may be intimidating to see, they are one of the types of wasps in Kansas that are not considered aggressive or dangerous to humans.
8. 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 to be 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 to have 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.
9. Thread-Waisted Wasp
Thread-waisted wasps are types of wasps in Kansas. This type of wasp is a solitary species, meaning it does not live in colonies. They have a slender waist and long antennae and can grow to about an inch long. These wasps are mostly black in color, with some white and yellow stripes on their bodies.
Thread-waisted wasps construct their nests in sandy soils and feed on larvae, making them useful for pest control. They are often seen around flowers and plants during summer, feeding on nectar. The female wasp will hunt down insects such as grubs and spiders to feed her young. In Kansas, thread-waisted wasps can be found in the central and eastern regions of the state.
10. Weevil Wasp
The Weevil Wasp, also known as Cerceris spp., is one of Kansas’s most commonly found types of wasps during the summer months. These colorful wasps have black and yellow stripes and measure around one inch long. They are usually seen searching for their prey, which includes weevils, beetles, and other small insects.
Weevil Wasps typically live in small burrows dug into the ground and often build their nests in sandy areas. Their nests can be found in lawns, fields, and gardens, making them a common sight in many parts of Kansas. While they may be intimidating with their bold coloration, they are mostly harmless to humans and can be safely observed from a distance.
11. Boll’s Potter Wasp
Boll’s Potter Wasp is similarly one of the many types of wasps in Kansas. This wasp species is a solitary, mud-daubing type of wasp that builds small, unassuming nests out of clay or mud. The nests are usually hidden away in the crevices of rocks or trees and can go unnoticed by people.
The Boll’s Potter Wasp usually nests in dry, sunny areas and can be seen flying during the day. The female wasp collects mud to build her nest and lays eggs inside it. Once the larvae hatch, they feed on insects that the female brings back to the nest.
When the larvae mature, they emerge from the nest to become adults, starting the cycle all over again. Since this type of wasp has an interesting life cycle and builds unique nests, it makes for an interesting addition to any garden or outdoor area. We are far from being down with this list of the numerous types of wasps in Kansas; don’t stop reading!
12. 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!
13. Common Paper Wasp
Kansas is home to a variety of different species of wasps. One of the most common types of wasps in Kansas is the Paper Wasp. The Paper Wasp, scientifically known as Polistes exclamans, is small and slender, typically measuring 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch long. They can range in color from yellowish-brown to reddish-brown with black markings.
The Paper Wasp feeds on insects and spiders and can typically be found around flowering plants, shrubs, and trees, as they are drawn to the nectar produced by the flowers. These wasps build papery nests shaped like an umbrella. They will often build them in sheltered locations such as hollows in tree trunks or under the eaves of buildings.
Equally important to note, they can become aggressive if disturbed and sting multiple times if provoked. Despite this, they are beneficial insects because they feed on many crop pests.
14. 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 live 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. It is, however, a beneficial insect since it helps to control pest populations by preying on caterpillars that can damage crops.
15. Cuckoo Wasp
The cuckoo wasp is one of the most diverse types of wasps in Kansas. 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 in length.
These wasps get their name from their habit of laying their eggs inside other wasp species’ nests. This is so that when the egg hatches, the young wasp will be provided with 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.
16. 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 in length, 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.
17. European Paper Wasp
The European Paper Wasp is one of the most common types of wasps in Kansas. This species can be identified by its yellow and black coloring, long body, and red legs. 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 the various types of wasps in Kansas, 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 to be 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.
18. 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 are 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.
19. 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. This species is identifiable by its bright yellow and black coloring and four-toothed mandibles. 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 other insects.
Once the egg hatches, the larva feeds on the food provided until it matures into an adult. The female wasp will then seal the cell and repeat the process for other cells, oftentimes filling up an entire nest. Let’s proceed on the list of the different types of wasps in Kansas.
20. 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 that are 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.
21. Great Black Wasp
The Great Black Wasp, also known as Sphex pensylvanicus, is one of the most common types of wasps in Kansas. 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.
Moreso, these particular ones of 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.
22. Great Golden Digger Wasp
The Great Golden Digger Wasp is one of the most commonly seen types of wasps in Kansas. 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 will 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.
23. 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 such as 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.
24. Hyperparasitic Wasp
The Hyperparasitic Wasp (Taeniogonalos gundlachii) is a type of wasp that can be found in Kansas. This species of wasp, belonging to the Chalcididae family, is native to the United States. This is one of the types of wasps in Kansas, and its small size and reddish-brown coloration characterize it.
The Hyperparasitic Wasp feeds primarily on other parasitic wasps, though it has been known to feed on the eggs of various insect species. The female wasp lays her eggs inside the body of the host wasp, where the larvae will hatch and feed on the host’s tissues and blood. This type of wasp is most commonly found near gardens and agricultural areas, where it uses its unique behavior to parasitize other wasps. It is an important part of controlling pest populations in Kansas.
25. 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 of wasps. 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 around outside, especially in areas known to be inhabited by them.
26. Leucospid Wasp
The Leucospid Wasp (Leucospis spp.) is a type of wasp that can be found throughout the state of Kansas. These wasps are small and black, with yellow markings on their abdomens. They typically measure about 1⁄4 inch in length and have a wingspan of about 1⁄2 inch.
The Leucospid Wasp, one of the different types of wasps in Kansas, feeds on nectar, sap, and other plant-based material. They can be found in grassy and wooded areas, as well as in gardens and farms. These wasps benefit humans because they help keep pest populations under control by feeding on other insects.
In addition, these types of wasps in Kansas are pollinators, aiding in the process of fertilizing flowers. As such, they are an important part of the natural ecosystem in Kansas. The Leucospid Wasp has also been known to parasitize certain insect species, such as caterpillars, making them even more beneficial to agriculture.
27. Metric Paper Wasp
The Metric Paper Wasp is an interesting type of wasp found in Kansas. Native to North America, it is a relatively large wasp that can reach up to 2 centimeters in length. 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.
28. 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, with a length of up to 2 inches.
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 when 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.
29. Norton’s Giant Ichneumon Wasp
Norton’s Giant Ichneumon Wasp (Megarhyssa nortoni) is a type of wasp that is native to Kansas. These large wasps can grow up to two inches in length, and their black and yellow bodies make them easy to spot. They have an impressive antennae length of almost three inches long.
Norton’s Giant Ichneumon Wasps feed on wood-boring beetle larvae, which they paralyze with their stingers before laying eggs inside the body of the beetle larvae. When the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the paralyzed beetle until they mature into adult wasps.
These are equal types of wasps in Kansas that are not considered a threat to humans since they rarely sting. However, they can still cause damage to wood structures in houses if their nests are not dealt with promptly.
30. Paper Wasp
If you are looking for the different types of wasps in Kansas, the Paper Wasp (Polistes dorsalis dorsalis) is one of them. These wasps are easily identified by their slender, reddish-brown bodies and long legs. They have yellow and black patterned wings and long antennae. Paper Wasps can be seen hovering around flowers and other plants looking for nectar to feed on.
These insects build nests out of a paper-like material which they create by mixing plant fibers with saliva. These nests are typically located in sheltered areas such as beneath eaves, barns, or hollow trees.
Of the types of wasps in Kansas, the Paper Wasp is a social species that live in colonies with up to 300 individuals. They typically feed on small insects, spiders, and other arthropods. In some cases, they may also scavenge for human food such as meat or sugary beverages.
31. 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, they build nests in trees, logs, or the ground, depending on the species. 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 they 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.