Louisiana is home to a wide variety of insects, including several species of wasps.
Wasps can range from the small and non-aggressive paper wasp to the large and intimidating bald-faced hornet.
These creatures play an important role in our ecosystem, and it’s important to understand the different types of wasps in Louisiana.
In this blog post, we’ll look at some of the most common types of wasps in Louisiana. We’ll also discuss the differences between these types and the best ways to identify them.
1. Braconid Wasp
The braconid wasp, also known as Atanycolus spp., is a small and slender insect found in Louisiana.
These wasps are typically black and yellow, although the exact patterns may vary from species to species.
Braconid wasps are primarily predators of small insects, such as caterpillars, leafhoppers, and aphids.
As beneficial predators, these wasps help to control harmful insect populations that can damage plants or cause health issues in humans.
The females of this species lay their eggs on the larvae of other insects, so they can feed on them once they hatch.
In some cases, braconid wasps, the starter of the list of different types of wasps in Louisiana, may be seen in gardens or other areas where their prey is found.
They can also be found in wooded areas, where they may take advantage of various insect populations.
Due to their important role as predators, these wasps play a vital role in keeping Louisiana’s environment healthy and balanced.
2. Common Paper Wasp
The Common Paper Wasp (Polistes exclamans) is a type of wasp commonly found throughout Louisiana.
They build their nests in sheltered areas, such as under eaves, window sills, and other similar places.
These wasps, the second on the list of the types of wasps in Louisiana, are usually black and yellow and have a length of up to 1 inch. They feed on nectar, tree sap, and other insects.
Although they will sting when disturbed or threatened, they are not considered aggressive by nature.
3. Common Thread-Waisted Wasp
The Common Thread-waisted Wasp is a wasp species commonly found in Louisiana.
They are slender, elongated wasps with black bodies and white stripes running down their abdomen. These wasps have long antennae and a wingspan of up to two inches.
The Common Thread-waisted Wasp is a solitary species that do not form colonies like other wasps in Louisiana.
They are mainly active during the summer, where they can be found in meadows, grasslands, and wooded areas.
These wasps prefer to nest in underground burrows or small spaces, such as the cracks between bricks or logs.
They feed on nectar and other insects, making them beneficial for pest control.
While their sting is painful, the Common Thread-waisted Wasp does not pose a major risk to humans unless disturbed or threatened.
For this reason, they can be a welcome guest in gardens or other areas where they can provide natural pest control.
4. Cuckoo Wasp
Cuckoo Wasps are types of wasps in Louisiana. They are usually quite small and have large eyes and long, slender bodies.
Their colors range from yellow to black and can be found anywhere in Louisiana. They get their name due to their habit of laying eggs in the nests of other wasps.
They are predatory wasps, meaning they hunt and feed on other insects, such as caterpillars, aphids, and other soft-bodied insects.
While some cuckoo wasps may become pests in Louisiana, they are the most beneficial insects and help to keep other insect populations in check.
5. Double-Banded Scoliid Wasp
The double-banded scoliid wasp is a digger wasp found in the southeastern United States. It is found in many parts of Louisiana and is a beneficial insect that helps control pest populations.
This species has a black abdomen and thorax with two yellow bands, one on each side, and yellow legs.
They are types of wasps in Louisiana, their wings are clear, and they have brown veins. The female double-banded scoliid wasp digs burrows to lay its eggs up to 1.5 feet deep.
In the burrow, the female will create several cells where she will deposit her eggs.
These cells are made of mud, lined with grasses and other materials, and filled with food for the larvae when they hatch. The larvae feed on this food before pupating into adults and emerging from the burrow.
The double-banded scoliid wasp is an important species in the Louisiana landscape, helping regulate pest populations and pollination.
6. European Paper Wasp
The European Paper Wasp (Polistes dominula) is a type of wasp commonly found in Louisiana. This species has black and yellow stripes along its abdomen, and its wings have a reddish hue.
The European Paper Wasp is an introduced European species but has become widely established in Louisiana.
These wasps are social insects living in colonies with queens, workers, and drones. Their nests are usually made of paper-like material and built-in sheltered areas such as trees, eaves, and window sills.
European Paper Wasps feed on small insects like caterpillars, fly larvae, and other small bugs.
They are beneficial since they reduce the number of insect pests that feed on flowers and crops.
In Louisiana, it is important to take caution when dealing with these wasps, as they can sting if disturbed.
7. Five-Banded Thynnid Wasp
The Five-banded Thynnid Wasp (Myzinum quinquecintum) is a species of wasp that can be found in Louisiana.
These wasps are small, black, and yellow and have five white bands across their bodies.
They are also quite active and can be seen flying around flowers or other food sources during the summer months.
These wasps feed on nectar, as well as other small insects. They help to pollinate flowers, providing an important service for the ecosystem of Louisiana.
The Five-banded Thynnid Wasp is one of many types of wasps in Louisiana, and it is important to remember that they are beneficial and not dangerous.
8. Four-Toothed Mason Wasp
The four-toothed mason wasp (Monobia quadridens) is a eusocial wasp found in Louisiana and the surrounding area.
These wasps are most easily identified by their four distinct, curved teeth on the front of the head, which are used for burrowing and excavating nests in rotten wood.
These wasps are black or dark brown with a yellowish-orange hue on their thorax, abdomen, and legs.
They typically measure about 0.5 inches in length, making them one of the smaller types of wasps in Louisiana.
The four-toothed mason wasp mainly feeds on nectar and pollen, but they are also known to hunt small insects, such as caterpillars and flies.
They build their nests in dead trees and logs, where they lay their eggs and care for their young.
The four-toothed mason wasp is an important pollinator in Louisiana, helping to pollinate flowers, shrubs, and trees.
9. Giant Ichneumon Wasp
This species of wasp is native to the Louisiana region and is one of the largest of its kind. This impressive insect can measure up to 2.5 inches long, making it easy to identify when out in the wild.
The larvae of this species feed on the larvae of other insects, usually wood-boring beetles or sawflies. These give them a great benefit to nature by keeping other insects in check.
They are also capable of stinging, and their sting is relatively painful, so it’s best to avoid contact with these wasps whenever possible.
10. Great Black Wasp
The Great Black Wasp is a large, black wasp species native to Louisiana. This species is a solitary wasp that typically builds its nest in the ground.
The Great Black Wasp has long black antennae and an orange-brown thorax with a curved abdomen that is black with white stripes.
The wings are mainly black but have white markings on them. These wasps feed on nectar, pollen, and insects such as grasshoppers, beetles, and flies.
The female wasps lay their eggs in the host insect’s bodies, and the larvae then feed off the host.
These types of wasps in Louisiana are considered beneficial for their predation on pests insects.
11. Great Golden Digger Wasp
The Great Golden Digger Wasp (Sphex ichneumoneus) is a large and common species of wasp found throughout Louisiana.
It is characterized by its yellow and black coloring and large size, reaching up to 1.25 inches in length.
These wasps are predatory and feed on various prey, including other insects, spiders, and small rodents.
They are also one of the different types of wasps in Louisiana and are typically solitary but may form aggregations when searching for food.
Their nests are typically built in dry, sandy soils or abandoned burrows and can be found in fields, meadows, gardens, and wooded areas.
As beneficial insects, they are important pollinators and help to control insect pests in the environment.
12. Horntail Wasp
The Horntail Wasp is a species of wasp found in Louisiana. It is an interesting wasp species as it features a distinctive long ‘tail’ at the end of its abdomen.
The body of the Horntail Wasp is slender and black, with yellow-brown stripes across its wings.
These wasps are solitary, non-social insects living alone or in small groups. They feed mainly on wood-boring larvae and sap-feeding larvae found in decaying wood.
They can be found in deciduous forests, near stumps or dead trees, or in urban areas such as parks and gardens in Louisiana.
These wasps pose no threat to humans but can be annoying due to their loud buzzing when disturbed.
13. Hyperparasitic Wasp
The Hyperparasitic Wasp (Taeniogonalos gundlachii) is a species of wasp found in Louisiana and throughout the southeastern United States.
It is a solitary, predatory wasp that feeds on other parasitoid wasps, laying its eggs in their hosts.
It is one of the smaller types of wasps in Louisiana, measuring only about 6-7 mm in length. Its body is mostly black, with yellow markings on the abdomen.
The Hyperparasitic Wasp benefits Louisiana’s ecology since it preys upon other parasitoid wasps that can cause damage to plants or crops.
As such, it serves as an effective natural control for wasp populations, allowing for a more balanced ecosystem.
Despite its small size, the Hyperparasitic Wasp should not be overlooked as it plays an important role in controlling the populations of other species of wasps in the state.
14. Ichneumon Wasp
The Ichneumon Wasp – Coelichneumon (Coelichneumon navus) is a type of wasp that can be found in Louisiana.
These wasps are members of the Ichneumonidae family, characterized by their long ovipositors, which help them find their hosts to lay their eggs.
They typically feed on caterpillars but may also be seen attacking other insects.
The adults of this species can reach up to 20mm in length and are usually black with yellow markings on their thorax and abdomen.
This species is often confused with other species of ichneumon wasps due to its similar coloring, but its long ovipositor and thick antennae can easily identify it.
They are also on our list of the various types of wasps in Louisiana.
15. Leucospid Wasp
The Leucospid Wasp is one of the common types of wasps in Louisiana. It has a black body with yellow markings on its head and thorax and white bands on its abdomen.
The adults feed on nectar, and the larvae feed on caterpillars and other soft-bodied insects.
They are most commonly found in wooded areas, but they can also be found in yards, gardens, and meadows. These wasps will nest in hollow stems, such as those of bramble or wild rose bushes.
Also, it can be recognized by the presence of sawdust at the entrance of their nesting site.
The Leucospid Wasp is an important beneficial insect that helps to control pest populations in gardens and fields.
16. Metric Paper Wasp
The Metric Paper Wasp is a species of wasp found in Louisiana. This wasp has a black and yellow pattern on its body and typically builds its nest in wood or vegetation.
The female Metric Paper Wasp will hunt for other insects to feed her larvae and make her nests to raise her young.
Metric Paper Wasps are types of wasps in Louisiana that are also solitary and will only swarm during mating season.
They are also beneficial pollinators and natural pest controllers in the garden.
Despite their size, they are not particularly aggressive and will only sting when threatened.
17. Mutillid Wasp
Speaking of the different types of wasps in Louisiana, the Mutillid Wasp is a unique species. These wasps are known for their small size and colorful markings.
The Mutillid Wasp is black with yellow stripes and often has orange bands along its abdomen.
The Mutillid Wasp is typically between one-half to two inches in length and is commonly found in open meadows, marshes, and gardens.
These wasps feed on nectar, pollen, and aphids and are not typically aggressive unless provoked. They are beneficial to the environment because they help control pest populations.
18. Noble Scoliid Wasp
The Noble Scoliid Wasp, commonly known as Scolia noblitata, is a type of wasp found in Louisiana.
These wasps are distinguishable by their black and yellow bodies, with three yellow bands and two black stripes on their abdomen. They typically measure between 0.2” and 0.5” in length.
The Noble Scoliid Wasp is a solitary species that prefers to hunt alone for its prey. Its diet consists mainly of caterpillars and other larvae.
Despite being a predatory species, the Noble Scoliid Wasp does not sting humans.
In fact, they are considered beneficial because they help reduce the populations of agricultural pests.
As such, the Noble Scoliid Wasp plays an important role in natural pest control in Louisiana.
19. Northern Paper Wasp
This wasp species is found in the southeastern region of the United States, from Texas to the Atlantic seaboard. It has a wingspan of about 1 inch and a black and yellow striped abdomen.
These wasps are solitary and mostly prey upon other insects, but they can also feed on nectar. They build their nests in protected areas such as trees, shrubs, and buildings.
They are not aggressive. However, they will sting if provoked or threatened.
If you have any issues with these specific types of wasps in Louisiana, it is best to call a pest control specialist.
20. Norton’s Giant Ichneumon Wasp
Norton’s Giant Ichneumon Wasp is a type of wasp native to Louisiana. They are large, black wasps that are often mistaken for a species of bee.
The body of this species, on this list of the types of wasps in Louisiana, can reach up to two inches in length.
These wasps feed on the larvae of other insects, including caterpillars and beetles.
Norton’s Giant Ichneumon Wasp is an important part of the food chain as they help to control insect populations.
These wasps do not sting humans, so they are not dangerous. It is best to leave them alone and enjoy them from a distance.
21. Paper Wasp
Paper wasps are one of the most commonly seen types of wasps in Louisiana. They are recognizable by their black and yellow coloring, as well as their thin, elongated bodies.
These wasps build their nests out of paper-like material they create from chewed wood fibers, hence their name.
They are not aggressive unless their nests are disturbed, and they primarily feed on insects such as caterpillars, flies, and aphids.
Paper wasps can be beneficial to have around as they help to control populations of these pesky insects.
When looking for paper wasp nests, pay close attention to areas near your home or yard and underneath eaves or other shelter areas.
The nests are usually gray or brown and typically take the form of an inverted umbrella or teardrop shape.
If you come across a nest, it is best to leave it alone, as the wasps can become aggressive if threatened.
If you need to remove a paper wasp nest from your property, it is best to call a professional pest control service for assistance.
22. Potter Wasp
The Potter Wasp (Eumenes fraternus) is one of the types of wasps in Louisiana commonly found near buildings, porches, and other structures.
These wasps build their nests out of the mud and then use their mandibles to fashion the mud into intricate, delicate works of art.
Potter Wasps can be identified by their long antennae, brownish-black bodies, yellow legs and wings, and the intricate patterns on their abdomens.
In addition to building nests, these wasps also feed on various insects and spiders, which helps keep insect populations in balance.
Potter Wasps are not aggressive and will not sting unless provoked. They can be beneficial insects in gardens, homes, and buildings as they help reduce pests.
23. Red Paper Wasp
The red paper wasp, also known as Polistes spp., is a common species in Louisiana.
These social wasps are about half an inch long and have a bright reddish-orange coloration with black markings on their head and thorax.
They build paper nests in shrubs, trees, and other sheltered areas made of chewed wood and saliva.
The queens can produce up to 30 eggs at one time, fed to the larvae by the workers. They feed on nectar and other insects, providing a valuable food source for many bird species.
These types of wasps in Louisiana benefit humans since they help control the population of pest insects.
24. Red-and-Black Mason Wasp
The Red-and-black Mason Wasp (Pachodynerus erynnis) is a species of wasp found in Louisiana. This species of wasp has a unique red and black coloration.
They are often found nesting in abandoned nests of other wasps or using materials such as paper, mud, and chewed wood to create their own.
These wasps feed on insects, including aphids and caterpillars, and also consume nectar. This wasp species typically has two generations per year, with adults overwintering in the nest.
It is important to note that they can be aggressive if disturbed or threatened.
The Red-and-black Mason Wasp is typically found in wooded areas, gardens, and parks in Louisiana.
Regarding identification, these wasps have mostly black bodies with large red bands around their abdomen.
They can also be distinguished from other types of wasps in Louisiana by their large size and long antennae.
This species of wasp is beneficial to the environment, as they help to control insect populations in the area.
25. Sand Wasps
When separating Sand Wasps from other wasps, large yellow bands and a long, tubular abdomen are useful characteristics.
Sand wasps, one of the types of wasps in Louisiana, are not particularly aggressive and only sting when provoked.
According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, sand Wasps may utilize humans as bait, hovering nearby to capture a fly interested in human sweat or food.
Even while a Sand Wasp may appear angry when it flies close to someone’s face, its main 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 Wasps can help reduce fly populations by consuming Deer Insects and other invasive flies.
26. Scolid wasp
Female Scoliid wasps are not ashamed to use beetle grubs’ labor to their advantage to enhance reproductive success. Beetle grubs delve deep into the earth to consume roots and pupate.
The females locate a tunnel and sting the beetle larva to render it helpless. Then, next to the grub’s back, she vertically deposits a fertilized egg.
As soon as it hatches, the wasp larva feeds on the immobile beetle larva and grows and pupates before emerging as an adult wasp in the spring. Nothing of the grub survives.!
Adult males and females have different looks, despite having comparable markings.
The ragged yellow streaks on the black abdomen resemble far-off mountain ranges drawn on a night sky.
There are still more types of wasps in Louisiana that you should know about. Continue reading!
27. Short-Tailed Ichneumon wasps
Brown or reddish-brown short-tailed Ichneumon Wasp species comprise the majority.
Females still have shorter and less spectacular ovipositors because their abdomens are not as stretched as those of other Ichneumon Wasps.
Legs and long, wispy antennae have a light brown tint. Short-tailed Ichneumons, like moths, are drawn to lights and frequently visit residences and places of business close to fields or woodlands.
Almost all of the Short-tailed Ichneumon larvae Caterpillars are parasites of wasps. Using the ovipositor, females most likely affix a fertilized egg to a caterpillar.
After hatching, a larva enters the caterpillar’s body and eats it from the inside out. In the procedure, the caterpillar perishes, but the wasp larva stays in the corpse to pupate.
28. Spider Wasps
Wasps that chase spiders are known as spider wasps. 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 eating flower nectar.
We are gradually approaching the end of this list of the different types of wasps in Louisiana.
29. Ringed Paper Wasp
The Ringed Paper Wasp is a species of wasp native to the United States and Canada but can also be found in Louisiana.
This type of wasp is large and yellow-black with a distinctive ring on its thorax and abdomen. The female Ringed Paper Wasp builds a nest made of paper-like material and lays eggs in it.
These nests can range in size from small, simple structures to large and complex colonies. The larvae feed on paper material and are tended to by the female until adulthood.
Adult Ringed Paper Wasps have a stinging ability but rarely sting humans unless threatened.
They are types of wasps in Louisiana that feed on nectar and pollen and help pollinate plants and flowers in their natural habitats.
30. Squarehead Wasp
The head of a Squarehead Wasp 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.
Moreso, yellow bands can also be seen on the abdomen. There are also types of wasps in Louisiana with 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. To provide her larvae with food once they hatch, she captures flies and stores them with her wasp eggs.
31. Thread-Waisted Wasp
Lastly, on this list of the different types of wasps in Louisiana is the Thread-waisted Needle-waisted Wasps, another name for wasps.
Although it seems unlikely, fluids can move through such a small center. They frequently hunt on and drink from blooms.
Asters, Queen Anne’s lace, horsemint, and goldenrod are common plants to inspect. In certain lighting, the black body might appear blue.
The thorax features white patches close to the joints where the legs meet. They are swift in flight and have powerful jaws.
Female Thread-waisted wasps are found on flowers either mating, looking for caterpillars, or consuming nectar.
Wasps make a lot of effort to give the following generation a strong start. She digs a burrow and puts fertile eggs inside of it. She pursues, tackles, and stings a fat caterpillar, paralyzing but not killing it.
The caterpillar is then dragged back to her burrow and set down close to her eggs.
To protect it from creatures that would devour her eggs and take advantage of all her hard work, she carefully covers the entrance of her burrow with dirt, debris, and pebbles.
The caterpillar is still alive but immobile as the wasp larvae feed on it after hatching until they pupate.
Louisiana is home to many types of wasps, some of which are beneficial to the environment, and some can be quite dangerous.
Wasps play a vital role in the food chain and can help control the populations of pests like caterpillars and aphids.
This article explored the different types of wasps in Louisiana and their specific roles in the environment.