20 Different Types of Wasps in Florida

Different Types of Wasps in Florida
Photo by David Hablützel

It is likely that you will come into contact with different types of wasps in Florida on any given day because Florida’s environment makes it the ideal habitat for wasps throughout the entire year.

They construct their net around houses, below porches, and in other protected locations.

To help you identify the wasp you may have seen in your house or yard, we have compiled a list of the common types of wasps in Florida, arranged from the most common to the least common. Read on!!

1. American Pelecinid Wasp

First on our list of types of wasps in Florida is the Pelecinid wasp(Pelecinus ). Although the pelecinid  Wasp female’s long, shiny abdomen (or “tail”) makes people nervous, it does not sting. It’s utilized to lay eggs on the backs of underground grubs. Until she finds one, she drives it deep into the ground. She then continues to find another egg before laying one on it. 

When the wasp egg hatches, the larva will consume the defenseless grub from the inside out by digging its mouth into it. In addition to the long and slender abdomen, females also have protruding legs.

Although they lack stingers, they might try to poke a threat in an effort to scare or push it away. The male’s abdomen is shorter and has a rounded tip. Despite their rarity, they exhibit characteristics similar to females, including a glossy body and bowed (albeit smaller) legs.

Adults consume nectar from trees, gardens, and other places. They fly low to the ground and are occasionally seen perched on low-growing bushes or plants. Female wasps in Florida are frequently seen scanning the landscape for hosts. This species can produce children from unfertilized eggs, which is fantastic for living things.

2. Blue-Winged Wasp

Blue-winged wasp is also on our list of types of wasps in Florida. The lengthy wings of this wasp may not be blue in the purest meaning of the word, but from some angles, they appear to be. 

The blue can be seen from certain angles, but the most distinguishing physical characteristic is the orange abdomen with two parallel brilliant yellow patches towards the ‘waist. Attempts to handle a female Blue-winged Wasp  (Scolia dubia) may result in a defensive sting; otherwise, the species is thought to be non-aggressive. 

It would be preferable to watch them at work and let them guard your blooms against the Japanese Beetle, a particularly invasive garden pest. In North America, both insects have established wide ranges. Japanese beetles are infamous for consuming the petals and leaves of many different flowers, especially hibiscus, and roses. They quickly reproduce and are challenging to remove from a flower bed. 

Because its larvae consume the beetle grubs, the Blue-Winged Wasp is a natural predator of this beetle and other beetle species. A female wasp would swarm and sting a beetle grub to render it helpless. She then excavates a cell next to the grub and places a fertilized egg inside.

She then inserts the egg into the hole while dragging the immobilized grub. She then carries out the procedure on a different beetle grub once more. Each wasp larva consumes the paralyzed but still alive grub once it hatches, beginning with the non-essential organs.

Summertime is when adults are the most active. They go to flowers during the day and sip nectar. They sleep on plants at night and may interact with other Blue-winged Wasps. To rest, males curl around a twig, grass blade, or other objects.

3. Braconid Wasp

Braconid Wasps (Atanycolus spp) are tiny wasps that, if not for their alarm colors and the females’ lengthy ovipositors, could be mistaken for flies. She has an ovipositor that resembles a needle but is actually not a lengthy stinger. 

It is an egg-depositing tube. They have red bodies and blackheads. When walking, the long, black wings cover the entire length of the abdomen. Black also makes up the long legs and antennae. Braconid wasps parasitize many different kinds of caterpillars and wood-boring beetle larvae. A group of females scans a tree trunk for holes.

To keep their eggs safe from surface predators and close to the heartwood, which serves as a food source, many beetle species inject their eggs into tree trunks. The female Braconid Wasp pokes into large holes with her ovipositor, which resembles a syringe. 

She deposits a fertilized egg on or inside the beetle larva when she discovers one at the end of one. Later, the newly developed wasp larva consumes the grub from the inside out.

4. Common Thread-waisted Wasp

This wasp got its name because of its “waist” size. The hair-thin waist of the glossy black wasp is surrounded by a scarlet or orange ring on its protruding abdomen. 

The wasp’s black, slender legs allow it to cling to foliage while keeping an eye out for potential meals. On the sides of the head are two large, shiny eyes. On the front of the head are largemouth portions.

The ambush predator Thread-waisted Wasp ( Ammophilia procera) immobilizes insect prey with a quick stinging sting. With the help of its strong jaws, it may drag or carry the numb victim back to its deep burrow. The Thread-waisted Wasp, a Mud Daubers relative, constructs a tunnel in loose dirt. The excavated tunnels or cells are filled with the paralyzed prey. 

The parasitic wasp egg is put on the living but motionless food source, and when it hatches, the larval stage begins to feed on the paralyzed victim, eating the unnecessary portions first. The wasp transforms into an adult by the time the meal is finished and flies away from the nest. Adults consume flower nectar and eat little insects that they catch outside. 

These types of wasps in Florida may be advantageous to farmers and gardeners since it consumes a lot of plant-eating caterpillars, which are used as food for the larvae. They are not known to be hostile toward people, although they may sting in defense if they are stepped on or handled roughly.

5. Cuckoo Wasp

Because of their parenting style, cuckoo wasps have earned their name. Cuckoo Wasps ( Various species) lay their eggs in other bees’ nests, just like the cuckoo bird. 

When a Cuckoo Wasp larva emerges, it first consumes the food supplies in the nest before devouring the other bee larvae. The Cuckoo Wasp parasitizes numerous other bee and wasp species due to its activity. Even Walkingsticks’ eggs are permissible.

The emerald, gold, or garnet-colored adult cuckoo wasp has black eyes, wings, and legs. Even though it is little compared to other bees, its dimpled, shimmering body is noticeable.

Adults have relatively tiny stingers and consume floral nectar. When threatened, they often curl up if they can’t get away. Although they frequent a range of habitats and natural locations throughout the summer when they are active, they are most frequently spotted visiting flowers.

6. Five-Banded Thynnid Wasp

The fact that this medium-sized yellow and black wasp feeds on a range of damaging beetles that eat flowers and plants makes it very valuable. At the tip of their abdomens, males have a fake stinger; females have a real one. 

Male wings are brown, while female wings are orange in color. The generation that actively benefits plants is that produced by the Five-banded Thynnid Wasp( Myzinum ). 

A May Beetle larva lays an egg that has been fertilized by a female wasp on it while it is still buried in the ground. Larvae of the may beetle feed on plant roots, stopping the passage of water and nutrients to the remainder of the plant. Young plants and grasses may become stressed and die as a result of this. 

These types of wasps in Florida infest the beetle after hatching, slowly devouring it from the inside until it dies. The adult wasp larva then develops in the early summer. 

This wasp is a victim of another wasp, as is occasionally the case. Thynnid wasp larvae are consumed by velvet ants, which are wasps in disguise. Adults consume floral nectar. Trees’ leaves have suffered slight damage, but not enough to endanger the tree. This species can be discovered on lawns, fields, meadows, and gardens.

7. Four-Toothed Mason Wasp

Like its twin, the Bald-faced Hornet, the Four-toothed Mason Wasp(Monobia quadridens) is a helpful bug to have in the garden. The Mason Wasp decreases the number of leaf-rolling caterpillars by feeding their newly formed larvae on them. 

White, angular “shoulder” markings are on shiny, black, hairless bodies. There is a stark contrast between the narrow white band before the waist and the broader white band beyond the waist. The metallic sheen of the black wings reflects hues of blue and purple.

A female will build a nest in a hole that has been left behind by a Carpenter Bee, Mud Dauber, or ground nests from another species of bee. She may also use hollow tubes she finds nearby, such as plant stems, pipes, or hollowed-out tree limbs. She creates cells in the chosen area so that she can later lay her fertilized eggs there. She then starts hunting various moth and cutworm caterpillars in an effort to sting them and render them permanently immobile. 

When she returns to her nest, she places a few of them in each cell, along with one egg, before closing the cell with mud. In their cells, newly hatched larvae start eating the living caterpillars. It will finally eat through the mud cell and liberate itself after pupating. Adults sip nectar from flowers. They are typically found in gardens and meadows and are most active in the summer.

8. Giant Ichneumon Wasp – Long-tailed

Ovarian ovaries in female Massive Ichneumon Wasps(Megarhyssa Macrurus) are twice as long as the genuine wasp. The narrow, tube-shaped ovipositor is not a stinger and is powerless to sting. 

The female can lay her fertilized egg inside the tree rather than on top of it because it is relatively flexible towards the abdomen and sufficiently complex at the tip to puncture tree bark and wood. The eggs are shielded from the environment and predators and are also in close proximity to a food source, both of which are advantages. 

The Pigeon Tremex, a sort of Horntail wasp that likewise injects its eggs into tree bark, is a parasite of this wasp species. The female Giant Ichneumon looks for crevices where a Horntail larva is already present. Then she will inject her egg into it or close by. Her larva will consume the Horntail until it is time for it to pupate. Adults with wings appear from the tree.

9. Great Black Wasp

The Great Black Wasp( Sphex pennsylvanicus) is a giant, steely blue-black insect that feeds on honey and pollen. In the hottest stages of the summer and the beginning of fall, it can be observed visiting flowers and aids in pollinating plants. 

However, every adult was fed a diet of grasshoppers, crickets, and relatives of the katydid. The Digger Wasp family, which includes Great Black Wasps, digs tunnels in the ground. After laying fertilized eggs in this underground nest, adult female wasps hunt for insects. 

A Katydid or Cricket is placed next to each egg as it is laid in a tunnel. When the egg hatches, the larva that emerges has an immediate food source and will eat the insect as it develops and expands. In locations where Great Black Wasps are present, this juvenile diet aids in maintaining the numbers of katydids, crickets, and grasshoppers under control.

Despite their intimidating appearance, adult Great Black Wasps have little interest in people and do not bother them. However, if mishandled or when threatened, they can sting, so it is better to look than to touch.

10. Horntail Wasp

Horntail wasps (Urocerus spp.) are typically non-aggressive and (according to one source) harmless, despite the warning colors. Adults sip water and nectar. The Horntail Wasp species have little spines on the tip of their abdomen in both the male and female forms, but the females appear to have two dangerous stingers. 

The longer, thicker one is an ovipositor. The female uses the ovipositor, a tube, to inject eggs directly into tree trunks and other sturdy wood, making them less likely to be discovered and consumed by other insects. Before the eggs are laid, that strong spine helps split the wood, setting them further within the protecting tree trunk. 

Larvae emerge as adult types of wasps in Florida after tunneling through the wood and hatching inside of it. Despite the female’s best efforts to employ deep wood to shield her Horntail larvae, other parasitic wasp larvae that have also hatched in the same tree prey on them. 

Those living Horntail Wasps will eventually come out of the tree as adults. When they finally emerge from the wood, it is not uncommon to find these adults inside homes or buildings if the tree is harvested and utilized for construction material before then.

11. Hyperparasitic Wasp

This tiny bug wasp species illustrates a hyperparasitic wasp( Taeniogonalos gundlachii) . This indicates that it is a parasite of an insect’s parasites. 

There are some wasp species that deposit their eggs on caterpillars, and once they hatch, the wasp larvae feed on the caterpillar’s insides, making them parasites. A hyperparasitic wasp consumes other species of wasps instead of the caterpillar. 

The caterpillar swallows these types of wasps in Florida eggs as it naively bites through the leaf they are deposited on to accomplish that. With this tactic, the hyperparasites are put in close proximity to their own food source.

Even if the hyperparasite eats the parasites before they can pupate, all of this hatching and feasting occurs inside the caterpillar, making it unlikely to survive. The hyperparasitic larvae perish if the caterpillar is free of parasites to ingest.

Sometimes, a parasite wasp needs protection from hyperparasitic wasps, even if they can help reduce undesired parasitic wasp populations. By releasing parasite wasps in the region where a caterpillar is harming crops or other plants, parasitic wasps can help control caterpillar numbers. The introduction of hyperparasitic wasps limits the management program’s effectiveness.

12. Ichneumon Wasp

Next on our list of types of wasps in Florida is Ichneumon wasp Mesostenus(Mesostenus thoracicus). Both appear to be pretty similar. Although the long ovipositor of the female may draw the majority of attention, the solid white dot in the middle of the ‘back’ (or thorax) is challenging to miss. 

Her thick, black egg depositor sometimes gets mistaken for a stinger since it resembles an evil syringe. It is employed to inject eggs into the wood rather than sting. The black antennae have a broad white band in the middle, which is another attractive physical trait. Its body is also primarily orange with some black accents. 

The upper portion (thorax) is orange near the narrow, bent waist and black towards the head. The abdomen’s bottom portion is all orange.

Like many other Ichneumon types of wasps in Florida, this species does not pose a severe threat to humans and appears uninterested in them. It may quickly go unnoticed because of its speed and small size unless someone has an eye for capturing fleeting moments in nature.

13. Leucospid Wasp

The abdomen of this kind of wasp appears to be spherical, in contrast to the majority of wasps, which have pointed abdomens. They still have stingers on them. The ovipositor, a tube resembling a syringe that females have, is used to lay eggs in the nests of other bees and wasps. This ovipositor typically curves rather than standing out straight. 

Leucospid wasps(Leucospis spp) don’t extend their wings when resting like some other species of wasps. These types of wasps in Florida often have hairless bodies. Thus, they will fold their wings over their bodies. 

They can easily be mistaken for a bee with big pollen bags due to their extensive “thighs” on their rear legs. This wasp family parasitizes numerous different bees and wasps. The female will lay one or more fertilized eggs in an existing nest. 

The first Leucospid Wasp that emerges from the nest quickly begins to devour every other egg, even if they are Leucospid Wasps. It will pupate there before emerging as an adult with wings. All summer long, adults visit flowers.

14. Mutillid Wasp

This lone female wasp, who acts and appears like an ant, belongs to a family of insects called Velvet Ants, even though they are wasps. Unlike the regular Velvet Ant species, this one lacks as much hair (see Red Velvet Ant and ThistleDown Velvet Ant for comparison). 

It is much smaller than the other Mutillidae members and resembles an actual ant more than they do. Female types of wasps in Florida without wings can administer excruciatingly painful stings that leave human victims confused and in anguish. A Velvet Ant can be differentiated from a natural by looking at its antennae. 

The ants’ antennae bend sharply at the “elbow,” but this wasp doesn’t have joints from the base to the tip. Mutillid wasp(Pseudo Meth Ocga oculata)  adults sip nectar and liquids. However, wasp larvae make excellent parasitic predators. 

The Velvet Ant lays its eggs close to those of other bees, wasps, or even flies. As soon as they hatch, they start to eat the unwary neighbors.

15. Potter Wasp

Potter Wasps (Eumenes fraternus) create tiny nests that resemble jugs or pots made of ceramic. They construct these tiny nesting structures on twigs, branches, or tree trunks. 

Unlike the several chambers inside a honeybee hive, each pot contains just one chamber. One egg is laid inside the chamber by the female, who then adds paralyzed caterpillars and closes the pot’s aperture. 

The potter wasp larva feeds on the caterpillars as it develops and grows before digging its way out of the chamber’s wall; the thickest part of the pot requires more effort to penetrate. This wasp is not aggressive, and females do not guard the pots. 

During the summer, when caterpillar populations are at their peak, potter wasps assist in controlling the damage they do to plant leaves. You can take empty pots off of trees, but if the pot is still full, you should leave it there until the Potter Wasp within has emerged into the outside world.

16. Ringed Paper Wasp

The upper body of the Ringed Paper Wasp (Polistes annularis) is dark red or burgundy. Except for a small yellow ring that wraps around it around the “waist,” the abdomen is entirely black. 

Legs are bright yellow in hue, and the antennae are black with orange-yellow tips. This wasp species builds its communal nests from a mixture of plant pulp and saliva. The outcome is a papery orb that is grayish-brown in color and contains several cells for eggs and larvae. 

Various places may be used to create nests, including inside shrubs, on the eaves of houses, and inside outbuildings like sheds or barns. The wasps guard their nests by initially focusing all of their attention on an impending danger.

People should not get any closer after hearing the signal since wasps have a painful stinger. An expert exterminator can dismantle a nest securely if it is constructed in an unfavorable position.

17. Sand Wasp

When separating Sand Wasps (Bembix spp.) from other wasps, large yellow bands and a long, tubular abdomen are valuable characteristics. Sand wasps are not particularly aggressive and only sting when provoked.

Sand types of wasps in Florida may utilize humans as bait, hovering nearby to capture a fly interested in human sweat or food, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation. Even while a Sand Wasp may appear angry when it flies close to someone’s face, its primary concern is attacking a nearby fly, not the person.

Sand Wasps can be found inland and along beach fronts and dunes since loose, sandy soil is widespread over the continent, making good nesting places. Females are skilled at digging quickly, making tiny tunnels to house their eggs. The female begins by gathering eggs for the nest and then goes fly-hunting to find flies to feed her larvae. 

Sand types of wasps in Florida help regulate fly populations because they eat problem insects like deer flies. When you identify a Sand Wasp correctly, you may unwind and take advantage of a fantastic ally at your upcoming picnic or outing.

18. Spider Wasp

Wasps that chase spiders are known as spider wasps( Auplopus mellipes). This black and orange spider paralyzes jumping spiders by attacking them. 

To hasten the transfer of a spider to its nest, the wasp may even rip off some or all of the spider’s legs. The wasp walks or flies the spider back to its home while holding it in its powerful jaws. It is recommended to give this species a wide berth because it can deliver a nasty sting, especially if a female is nesting. 

This species can be found in woodlands, forests, and other hunting-friendly habitats. Spider wasps use mud pots that Mud Daubers, another kind of wasp, have used and abandoned to build their nests. A female places a fertilized egg with the immobilized spider in one of the pots. 

She fills the pot’s opening with mud or plant matter. As the wasp larva grows after hatching, it consumes the spider’s internal organs. Although the larva is parasitically carnivorous, the wasp adults switch to a nectar-based diet.

19. Squarehead Wasp

The head of a Squarehead Wasp(Ectemnius spp) is best described as a rounded cube. Usually measuring 1 cm, this tiny flying insect is only long enough to sit across the pinky fingernail. 

With most species showing vivid yellow bars near the “neck” and a yellow band just before the “waist,” the traditional black and yellow coloring is evident. Yellow bands can also be seen on the abdomen. They have short, yellow antennas. 

Legs are also yellow, with dark feet and black “thighs.” When resting or moving, the dark wings typically overlap and tuck back over the body. Females build their nests in pliable twigs or rotting, soft wood. 

She captures flies and stores them with her wasp eggs so that they will have a food source when her larvae hatch. This kind of wasp is tiny and rarely bothers humans. Seek them out in or close to wooded areas.

20. Weevil Wasp (Cerceris spp.)

Lastly, Weevils and other beetles are hunted and collected by members of the genus Cerceris. Female wasps dig nests in the ground in regions with loose dirt and sand, such as baseball diamonds, parks, and beaches. 

They condense the substance and produce cells, inside of which they lay fertilized eggs. They take off in flight in quest of sustenance for their larvae.

Weevil wasp (Cerceris spp) females immobilize their prey by biting them. The paralyzed weevil or beetle is then taken back to the nest and placed within a compartment where it can still breathe but cannot move. A newly hatched wasp larva starts devouring the alive, paralyzed weevil or beetle immediately. When the wasp larva reaches adulthood, it will leave the nest and the now-dead, consumed caterpillar.


In conclusion, some types of wasps in Florida are more aggressive than others, as provided by our blog. They all have the ability and willingness to sting anyone if they believe to be a threat to their nest. 

Wasp sting symptoms can range from mild redness, discomfort, and swelling to more serious ones like throat swelling, hives, nausea, and vomiting. You and your family may be susceptible to medical problems from bites when hives infiltrate your homes or outdoor areas. Be Careful! 

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