Alabama is home to a wide variety of wasps, with over 180 species in the state.
As part of this blog post series, “Wasp Wars,” we will be exploring the different types of wasps in Alabama that are commonly seen.
We’ll also provide information about protecting yourself and your property from these pests.
From paper wasps and hornets to yellow jackets and mud daubers, get ready to learn all about the different types of wasps in Alabama and how to handle them best.
1. Common Thread-Waisted Wasp
The Common Thread-waisted Wasp (Ammophila procera) starts off our list of the different types of wasps in Alabama and the surrounding states.
These wasps are typically seen in grassy areas or open woodlands and build large nests in trees or buildings. They have bright yellow and black markings, long thin waists, and slender wings.
As their name implies, these wasps form a social colony with a queen and workers that build the nest and hunt for food.
Thread-waisted Wasps feed on nectar and other insects, including caterpillars and spiders. In return, they help control pest populations in Alabama’s ecosystems.
Most species of wasps may sting if disturbed or threatened, so it’s best to keep your distance when you spot one.
If you are unfortunate enough to be stung, the best course of action is to seek medical attention immediately.
2. Common Paper Wasp
The Common Paper Wasp is a type of wasp found throughout the southern United States, particularly in Alabama.
It is a small black and yellow-striped wasp that is typically found in warm climates, nesting in colonies near food sources.
Common Paper Wasps create paper nests in sheltered areas like tree trunks or eaves of buildings.
They are types of wasps in Alabama that feed on nectar and other insects like caterpillars. The Common Paper Wasp is generally considered beneficial, as it helps control pest insect populations.
These wasps are common in Alabama, particularly during the summer months.
3. Braconid Wasp
The Braconid Wasp (Atanycolus spp.) is a type of wasp commonly found in Alabama. These wasps are generally black or brown and have three pairs of legs.
They, one of the types of wasps in Alabama, can reach up to 8mm in length and are quite small.
Braconid wasps are solitary and typically feed on caterpillars, larvae, and other insect pests. They will lay their eggs inside their host’s body, hatch into larvae and consume the host from the inside out.
These wasps are beneficial for agriculture, as they help to control the population of unwanted insect pests.
4. Blue-Winged Wasp
The Blue-winged Wasp is also one of the types of wasps in Alabama that can be found there. This wasp is about 1 inch long and has a black body with bright blue wings.
It can often be seen hovering around flowers, searching for its primary food source: pollen. It also feeds on small insects, like aphids and caterpillars.
The Blue-winged Wasp builds large nests in the ground that can contain several thousand wasps. They are not aggressive and will leave humans alone unless threatened or provoked.
The Blue-winged Wasp is an important part of the ecosystem in Alabama as they help control insect populations and pollinate flowers.
They also play an important role in the food chain, providing food for larger animals such as birds and bats.
If you spot a Blue-winged Wasp, it’s best to leave them alone and admire them from a distance.
5. Double-Banded Scoliid Wasp
The double-banded scoliid wasp (Scolia bicincta) is a species of solitary wasps commonly found in the southeastern United States, including Alabama.
It is one of the largest species of Scolia, measuring up to 40 millimeters in length. Its body is black with yellow stripes along its abdomen, and its wings are clear.
This species feeds mainly on nectar, pollen from flowers, and small insects. The female of the species builds its nest in small cavities, such as crevices or rotten wood, where it lays its eggs.
They are not aggressive towards humans and can be quite docile when left alone. As such, they can be considered beneficial to the environment by helping to control pest populations.
6. European Paper Wasp
The European paper wasp is a species of social wasp found throughout North America. Its reddish-brown coloration can identify it with yellow bands on its abdomen.
Its nest is made from a small paper envelope suspended from a structure or tree branch.
This is one of the various types of wasps in Alabama known for its aggressive behavior and will attack anyone who gets too close to its nest.
They feed on other insects, such as flies, caterpillars, nectar, and sap. In Alabama, the European paper wasp is common in the summer months.
It is important to take caution when dealing with these wasps, as they are capable of stinging multiple times.
7. Five-Banded Thynnid Wasp
The Five-banded Thynnid Wasp (Myzinum quinquecintum) is a species of wasp found in Alabama.
This species is one of the largest wasps in the state, measuring up to 0.5 inches in length.
This insect has a black body and five yellow bands across its abdomen. It builds its nest in old tree stumps, dead logs, and other similar areas.
The Five-banded Thynnid Wasp is an active predator, feeding on small insects and spiders. They also consume nectar from various flowers and can fly around blooming plants during summer.
These types of wasps in Alabama are not considered a threat to humans but may become aggressive if disturbed.
8. Four-Toothed Mason Wasp
The four-toothed Mason wasp is a solitary wasp found throughout the southeastern United States, particularly in Alabama.
These types of wasps in Alabama are considered to be beneficial insects as they feed on aphids, mites, and caterpillars.
This wasp species is quite large, reaching up to 0.8 inches in length. The body is black with reddish-orange markings on the abdomen.
This species builds its nest from mud and chewed-up pieces of wood, which it collects from old fence posts, tree bark, and other sources.
The four-toothed Mason wasp is an important part of the local ecosystem in Alabama and should not be disturbed if possible.
9. Giant Ichneumon Wasp
The giant ichneumon wasp, or long-tailed Megarhyssa macrurus, is a parasitic wasp found in Alabama.
It is a large insect with a body length of up to 2 inches and a wingspan of up to 4 inches.
The female wasp has a long ovipositor used to lay eggs inside the bodies of wood-boring beetle larvae.
Once the eggs hatch, the wasps feed on the beetle larvae until they mature and emerge as adult wasps.
The giant ichneumon wasp can be identified by its long tail and black and yellow striped body.
They are a common sight in the late summer months in Alabama and can be seen searching for wood-boring beetle larvae in decaying wood.
10. Great Black Wasp
The Great Black Wasp is an impressive species of wasp commonly seen in Alabama. These wasps are large, black, and have a white spot on their abdomen.
They are predatory, feeding mainly on caterpillars and grasshoppers. Great Black Wasps can be found in wooded areas, such as forests and fields.
They prefer to nest in cavities like hollow trees or logs and create nests in man-made structures like attics or sheds.
In the summer months, Great Black Wasps can be active, flying around and searching for prey.
During colder months, they become inactive, staying in their nests until springtime, when they become active again.
The Great Black Wasp is an important predator in Alabama’s environment and can help keep pest insect populations under control.
This list of the types of wasps in Alabama is incomplete without the Great Black Wasp.
11. Great Golden Digger Wasp
The Great Golden Digger Wasp is a type of wasp found in Alabama and other parts of the United States.
It is easily recognizable by its bright yellow coloring and black stripes across its abdomen.
These wasp species are considered beneficial because they feed on other insects, such as grasshoppers, caterpillars, and aphids.
They also help control populations of some crop pests, making them an important species in an agricultural setting.
The female wasps construct burrows in loose soil where they will lay eggs and tend to their larvae.
These types of wasps in Alabama do not produce honey or sting people and can be found near gardens and flower beds.
12. Horntail Wasp
The horntail wasp, also known as a sawfly, is one of the most common types of wasps in Alabama.
These wasps are typically brown and black, with large, pointed abdomens and thick antennae.
They can reach an inch in length and often live in woody areas such as old trees and decaying logs.
The female horntail wasp can dig a burrow in wood and lay her eggs inside. When the larvae hatch, they feed on the wood, which can cause extensive damage to trees if they become too numerous.
Control of horntail wasps is necessary to protect trees and other woody areas from potential damage.
13. Hyperparasitic Wasp
The Hyperparasitic Wasp (Taeniogonalos gundlachii) is a parasitoid wasp found in Alabama.
This type of wasp has a unique behavior: it injects its eggs into the eggs of other wasps to feed off of the host larva.
It is quite small, with females measuring only 6-9mm in length and males slightly larger at 7-10mm.
They have bright yellow and black stripes on their bodies and are easily recognizable in Alabama’s ecosystems.
The Hyperparasitic Wasp can be found in various habitats, including woodlands, fields, gardens, and meadows.
They usually hunt in the early morning or late afternoon, searching for host wasps to parasitize.
The female wasp will locate a suitable host, deposit her egg, and fly away. The host wasp, unaware of the presence of the parasitic egg, then carried on its normal activities.
The egg hatches, feed on the host larva, and eventually matures into an adult wasp.
This type of wasp is an important part of the local ecosystem and plays a crucial role in controlling the populations of other species. There’s more to come on this list of the types of wasps in Alabama.
14. Ichneumon Wasp
The Ichneumon Wasp – A. wiltii (Acrotaphus wiltii) is a type of wasp commonly found in Alabama. It is a solitary species, typically seen on flowers and plants during summer.
They are recognized by their slender abdomen, reddish-brown head and thorax, and blackish legs.
The female of this species lays her eggs on the stems of various plants. Upon hatching, the larvae feed on the host plant’s sap.
This type of wasp can benefit gardens as they provide natural pest control.
Preying on caterpillars and other pests helps to keep the population down and protect crops from damage.
This type of wasp also provides pollination services for many plants, making it a valuable member of the garden ecosystem.
As with other types of wasps in Alabama, care should be taken to ensure that humans and animals do not come in contact with them. This is because they can become aggressive if disturbed.
15. Large Four-Spotted Scoliid Wasp
The large four-spotted scoliid wasp is a species of wasp that resides in Alabama. They are often seen on the ground and in trees and shrubs.
These wasps have a black body with four orange spots on the thorax and abdomen, hence the name.
They can reach lengths of up to 1 inch, making them one of the larger types of wasps in Alabama.
The large four-spotted scoliid wasp typically feeds on caterpillars and other insects. They can be beneficial for keeping pest populations in check, but their sting can be painful.
It is important to use caution when approaching these wasps and wear appropriate protective clothing if necessary.
16. Leucospid Wasp
Leucospid wasps are a small family of insects native to Alabama. These wasps are tiny, with adults typically growing no more than 2-4mm in length.
They are recognized by their yellow and black coloration, and most species have an elongated body with a broad head and a narrow abdomen.
Leucospid wasps are types of wasps in Alabama that typically live in wooded areas, near logs or rotting wood.
They feed on small caterpillars, woodlice, and other small insects, making them important predators in their environment.
As with many species of wasps, they can sting if provoked, but they rarely do so and are not considered dangerous.
As such, they are generally harmless to humans and can be beneficial in the garden due to their predation on harmful pests.
17. Metric Paper Wasp
The Metric Paper Wasp is a type of wasp native to Alabama. These wasps are small to medium-sized and have black and yellow stripes on their abdomen.
They build their nests out of the chewed wood pulp, which can be found under eaves, on window ledges, and in crevices.
The Metric Paper Wasp typically feeds on nectar from flowers and other plant materials. These wasps benefit the environment as they help control pests such as aphids and other plant pests.
They can also be found in gardens and agricultural fields, where they help pollinate plants.
18. Mutillid Wasp
The Mutillid Wasp, also known as the Velvet Ant, is one of the common types of wasps in Alabama.
These wingless wasps are black or reddish-brown and have distinctive, fuzzy hair. They are generally between 0.5 and 1 inch in length.
The Mutillid Wasp is a solitary species that lives and feeds on flowers, mostly in sunny and dry areas.
They use their powerful sting to paralyze prey and transport them back to the nest.
Their nests are typically found in wooded areas and benefit gardens by controlling aphids and insects.
The Mutillid Wasp is an important part of the Alabama ecosystem and should be appreciated for its beneficial qualities.
19. Noble Scoliid Wasp
The Noble Scoliid Wasp (Scolia noblitata) is an interesting species of wasp that can be found in Alabama.
These large, distinctive wasps are black and yellow with a unique pattern of stripes on their thorax.
They are typically around one and a quarter inches in length and have a wingspan of about two inches.
They usually fly at night but are active during the day, often foraging for food or patrolling prey.
In addition to their distinct colors and pattern, Noble Scoliid Wasps have several unique features, such as their long antennae and large mandibles, which are used to capture and kill their prey.
This species is typically found near wooded areas, where they feed on insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates.
They are also known to be beneficial predators in gardens, as they will feed on plant-destroying insects such as caterpillars and aphids.
Above all, they are not excluded from the list of Alabama’s various types of wasps!
20. Northern Paper Wasp
The northern paper wasp (Polistes fuscatus) is a social wasp native to the United States, Canada, and Europe. They are often seen in urban, suburban, and rural settings.
This species is identified by its yellow-orange head, thorax, black abdomen, long legs, and clear wings.
In addition to their beautiful appearance, northern paper wasps play an important role in the environment as one of the types of wasps in Alabama.
They are considered beneficial predators, feeding on garden pests like caterpillars and aphids and pollinating flowers.
In Alabama, northern paper wasps can be found in many areas, including woodlands, yards, gardens, and roadsides.
They nest in sheltered areas such as under eaves or in tree hollows. These wasps can become aggressive when threatened and will sting if disturbed.
It is important to be aware of these pests outdoors in Alabama, as they can cause pain and potential harm.
If a nest is found near a home or business, it is best to call a pest control expert for assistance.
21. Norton’s Giant Ichneumon Wasp
Norton’s Giant Ichneumon Wasp is among the large, solitary types of wasps in Alabama. The adults are mostly black and yellow, with an orange or red spot near the middle of their abdomen.
Females have long ovipositors and can reach up to 1.3 inches, while males are usually smaller at 0.6 to 0.8 inches in length.
These wasps are parasitoids of wood-boring beetle larvae, which means they lay their eggs inside the beetle larvae, and the hatched wasp larvae consume the beetle larvae from the inside out.
They are active from May to September, and the adults feed on nectar from flowers. These wasps are not generally considered a threat to humans, but their large size and buzzing can be intimidating if encountered in the wild.
Their long ovipositors can also cause a slight pinch when touched. If found in the home, they should be left alone and preferably removed by a professional pest control service.
They play an important role in keeping beetle populations under control in Alabama and should be left alone to do their job.
22. Paper Wasp
The Paper Wasp (Polistes spp) is a type of wasp found in Alabama. These social insects are large, black, and yellow and have long, slender bodies.
They live in colonies and build nests made of paper-like material from chewed wood pulp.
The Paper Wasp feeds on nectar, sap, and fruit juices and is considered beneficial because they help to control the insect populations in their habitats. Their stings are considered moderate to severe and should be avoided at all costs.
23. Potter Wasp
The Potter Wasp, or Eumenes fraternus, is a wasp commonly found in Alabama.
This is one of the types of wasps in Alabama that is distinguished by its long, slender body and bright red coloring.
Its wings are orange and black and typically grow to around 1.5 centimeters in length.
Furthermore, they feed on nectar, pollen, and other small insects, such as ants and flies. The Potter Wasp is an important pollinator in the state of Alabama.
It helps to fertilize many plants and flowers, which in turn provides much-needed food for other animals in the area.
Additionally, the Potter Wasp can be beneficial to humans as well. Some species of birds consume their larvae, and collectors sometimes keep the adults as pets.
As a result, the Potter Wasp has become an integral part of the ecology of Alabama.
24. Red Paper Wasp
Red paper wasps are some of the most common types of wasps in Alabama. They are a large wasp species, typically growing to around 1.5 inches in length.
Red paper wasps have bright red coloring on their heads and thorax, which gives them their name.
They build nests out of paper which they chew up and mix with saliva to form a greyish papery material that they use to create their nests.
The nests can be found in trees, shrubs, under the eaves of buildings, or in other protected areas.
Red paper wasps are important predators in the natural environment, helping to control populations of aphids, caterpillars, and other insects.
They are also beneficial to humans as they pollinate flowers. However, they can become aggressive when threatened and may sting if provoked.
It is important to exercise caution when around these particular types of wasps in Alabama.
25. Sand Wasp
Sand Wasps, also known as Bembix spp., are a type of wasp found in Alabama. These wasps live in sandy soils, usually around areas with sandy beaches, and are often seen hovering above the sand.
Sand Wasps are black and yellow and have long antennae, legs, and slender bodies. They also have wings that enable them to fly in search of food.
Sand Wasps feed on nectar and pollen from flowers and smaller insects such as flies and beetles. Sand Wasps are solitary creatures and build their nests in the sand.
The nest comprises a single burrow where they lay their eggs, which hatch into larvae that feed on small insects.
The female Sand Wasp is the one who builds the nest, cares for the young, and defends the nest against predators.
26. Ringed Paper Wasp
The Ringed Paper Wasp (Polistes annularis) is one of the many types of wasps found in Alabama. These wasps are commonly found in wooded areas and are about an inch long.
They have a black-and-white pattern with a distinctive yellow ring around the thorax and abdomen.
The Ringed Paper Wasp is also called a Yellow-ringed Paper Wasp due to its unique coloration. These wasps feed on nectar and other insects, including caterpillars.
They build their paper-like nests under the eaves of buildings or in tree cavities, which they use to house their larvae.
These wasps are important pollinators and predators of certain pest species and are known for their gentle behavior.
27. Red-and-Black Mason Wasp
The red-and-black Mason Wasp is a species of wasp native to Alabama. It has a distinct red and black coloring and is quite small, growing up to just 1/2 inch in size.
The red-and-black Mason Wasp is one of the types of wasps in Alabama, and it is a solitary species, meaning it lives and nests alone.
It prefers warm, dry habitats such as meadows and pastures and typically feeds on nectar and pollen.
When the female is ready to lay her eggs, she will use the mud, saliva, and pieces of plants to construct a nest that she attaches to the side of the wall or other structure.
She then lays her eggs inside the nest and seals them with a protective covering.
The red-and-black Mason Wasp is an important predator for controlling pest insects, especially those that feed on crop plants.
This species is relatively common in Alabama and can be seen from early spring through late summer.
They are not known to be aggressive towards humans and can even be beneficial in controlling some of the more troublesome insect pests.
For this reason, they should not be disturbed or killed if found on your property.
28. Scoliid Wasp
The Scoliid Wasp (Campsomeris plumipes fossulana) is a species of wasp that can be found in Alabama.
These large, black, and yellow wasps are predators of soft-bodied insects such as caterpillars, beetles, and aphids. They have long antennae, and their wingspan can reach up to 2 inches.
Scoliid Wasps are solitary hunters, meaning they don’t live in colonies like other wasp species. They nest in burrows in the ground, where they lay their eggs.
When their larvae hatch, these types of wasps in Alabama feed on their host insects. Scoliid Wasps are beneficial because they keep pest populations down.
29. Short-Tailed Ichneumon Wasp
The Short-tailed Ichneumon Wasp, Ophion spp., is a type of wasp found in Alabama. It is also known as the slender ichneumon wasp due to its elongated body.
This species can be identified by its long and slim black or dark brown body, ranging from 2 to 5 centimeters.
It has long antennae, a slender abdomen, and yellowish-brown legs. The Short-tailed Ichneumon Wasp prefers dry and semi-arid habitats, such as dry woods, meadows, and grasslands.
Its diet consists mainly of insects, such as caterpillars, flies, and other smaller invertebrates.
Female wasps use their ovipositors to lay eggs inside the bodies of their prey. Upon hatching, the larvae feed on the internal organs of their host, ultimately killing it.
Despite their predatory behavior, Short-tailed Ichneumon Wasps do not pose any threat to humans or animals.
30. Spider Wasp
The Spider Wasp (Auplopus mellipes) is an important type of wasp found in Alabama. This species is part of the family known as Sphecidae and is the only member of its genus in Alabama.
The Spider Wasp has a unique look with its distinctive black-and-white coloring and long legs resembling a spider.
This species has been found to feed on flies, ants, and other small insects. The Spider Wasp is a solitary species that prefer to nest in dead wood, but they can also be found in rotten logs, under stones, or in other cavities in trees.
The types of wasps in Alabama benefit humans as they help reduce certain insect pests’ populations.
31. Squarehead Wasp
The Squarehead Wasp (Ectemnius spp.) is a type of wasp found in Alabama. This species is a solitary wasp that typically inhabits dry, sandy environments and is an important pollinator.
The wasps are generally black and have yellowish-brown bands on the abdomen. They have a distinct square-shaped head, and their long antennae can reach up to an inch.
The female Squarehead Wasp creates nests using soil and plant matter and will place her eggs inside these nests.
The larvae develop in the nests, and the adults feed on nectar and other insects.
The Squarehead Wasp benefits the environment, as they help control insect populations and is a pollinator.
They can also be found around trees and shrubs, as they help disperse pollen and fertilize flowers.
These wasps are not aggressive and rarely sting humans, so they can be a welcome addition to your backyard or garden.
With the right habitat and environment, you can enjoy these types of wasps in Alabama for years to come!
32. Thread-Waisted Wasp
Thread-waisted wasps are a type of wasp found in Alabama. They are fairly small, measuring around 1/2 inch in length.
They have narrow waists with long and slender antennae, usually black or dark brown in color.
These are types of wasps in Alabama that feed mainly on insects and larvae. They construct their nests in wood, rocks, or trees and lay eggs within.
Thread-waisted wasps benefit the environment as they help keep insect populations in check. They also act as pollinators for plants, helping to maintain healthy gardens and crops.
While these wasps are not aggressive and rarely sting people, it is important to remember that they should not be disturbed. This is because they can become agitated and attack if threatened.
33. Weevil Wasp
The Weevil Wasp is a type of wasp native to Alabama. This species belongs to the genus Cerceris and has a long, thin body.
The wasp has a slender waist, black and yellow stripes along its abdomen, and a pair of long antennae.
It is an expert hunter that feeds on various types of weevils, although it can also feed on other insects. Its larvae feed on the larvae of the weevils.
This wasp does not sting humans. However, it can sting other animals, such as cats and dogs if disturbed.
It is an important predator in Alabama’s ecosystems, as it helps to control insect populations that would otherwise become pests.
Weevil Wasps nest in underground burrows or existing tunnels created by moles or other animals. These nests are difficult to locate and can even be mistaken for rodent burrows.
They are most commonly found near open fields and meadows but may also be found near woodlands.
The Weevil Wasp is active during the day and is usually seen flying between flowers or along tree trunks.
It is a beneficial species, as it helps to keep insect populations under control, which in turn helps protect crops and natural ecosystems.
This wraps up our list of the different types of wasps in Alabama!
The state of Alabama is home to a variety of wasps. A wide range of species inhabits the area, from the common paper wasp to the blue-winged wasp.
These wasps can be beneficial in controlling other insect populations, but some may also cause harm to humans and their properties.
It is important to be aware of the different types of wasps in Alabama and take precautions to protect yourself from stings and other hazards.
By learning more about the different types of wasps in Alabama, we can better understand how to coexist peacefully with them.
The list above answers all your questions; we are sure you are satisfied!