21 Different Types of Wasps in Montana

Different Types of Wasps in Montana
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Montana is home to many different species of wasps that can be found all over the state.

From the bald-faced hornet to the paper wasp, these fascinating creatures play an important role in the ecosystem of Montana.

You might be a nature enthusiast looking to learn more about these creatures or simply curious about the different species of wasps in the area; we’ve got you covered.

This blog post will provide an overview of some of the most common types of wasps in Montana.

Montana is home to various wasp species, each with its unique characteristics.

From the familiar yellow jacket wasps that buzz around barbecues to the solitary and predatory mud daubers, something is fascinating to learn about all the different types of wasps in the Treasure State. 

In this blog post, we will explore the different types of wasps in Montana, their behaviors, and how to identify them.

So if you’re curious about the various wasps that inhabit the Big Sky Country, keep reading to get to know them better!

Read on to discover what types of wasps can be seen in Montana and learn more about their habits and habitats.

1. Ichneumon Wasp

The Ichneumon Wasp, or Coelichneumon navus, is a species of wasp commonly found in Montana.

These small, slender wasps have long antennae and long, needle-like ovipositors that they use to inject eggs into their hosts, such as caterpillars and beetles.

They come first on our list of the types of wasps in Montana.

Furthermore, they are typically black or brown and have red, yellow, or white markings on their bodies.

Ichneumon Wasps are predators and parasitoids, meaning they live by eating the insects they lay their eggs.

As such, they are beneficial to humans by helping to keep insect populations in check.

2. Leucospid Wasp

The Leucospid Wasp is one of the important types of wasps in Montana. These wasps measure about 1/4 inch long and are black or dark brown.

They have yellow markings on their heads, thorax, and abdomen. These wasps feed on small insects and their larvae and help control the insect population.

These wasps are beneficial predators that also build small mud nests in sheltered areas like tree trunks or window frames.

Leucospid Wasps can sting but do so very rarely and usually only when disturbed.

3. Norton’s Giant Ichneumon Wasp

Norton’s Giant Ichneumon Wasp is a large, rare species of parasitic wasp found in the state of Montana.

This species is characterized by its long ovipositor and black body with yellow markings reaching up to two inches.

The female wasp lays her eggs inside of wood-boring beetle larvae, and when the eggs hatch, the wasp larvae feed off of the beetle larvae as they develop. 

These types of wasps in Montana are usually only seen in late summer, flying around trees or dead logs.

They are considered beneficial to the environment since they help keep the population of wood-boring beetles down.

Although these wasps can deliver a sting, they are not typically aggressive and are rarely encountered.

4. Paper Wasp

The Paper Wasp is one of the most common types of wasps in Montana. These small but mighty insects measure approximately 13 to 15 millimeters and are easily identified by their slender bodies, long legs, and distinctively patterned wings. 

They are mainly found around humans and animals, often nesting near doorways, windows, or garages.

They are known for their aggressive behavior and venomous sting, so caution should be taken if you come across a paper wasp in your home or garden.

5. Potter Wasp

The Potter Wasp is a solitary species of wasp found in the state of Montana. These wasps are a reddish brown and measure around a one-half inch in length.

They are types of wasps in Montana usually found near open fields or gardens where they build nests in bare soil. 

Potter wasps will often inhabit old masonry structures or logs but can also be seen on fence posts or in trees. Their long antennae and broad abdomens recognize them.

Potter wasps feed on nectar and other small insects, making them beneficial for pest control in the garden.

6. Sand Wasp

The Sand Wasp, also known as the mud dauber wasp, is one of Montana’s most commonly found species of wasps.

These wasps have a glossy black body with yellow or white stripes on the thorax and abdomen. They make their nests in small cavities near water sources such as ponds and rivers. 

In addition to being one of the types of wasps in Montana, their nests are made up of small bits of sand mixed with saliva.

Sand Wasps feed on nectar, insects, and spiders, and they can be seen flying around in search of food.

They are solitary wasps and play an important role in controlling pest populations in the state.

7. Short-Tailed Ichneumon Wasp

The Short-tailed Ichneumon Wasp (Ophion spp.) is a type of wasp native to Montana. These black and yellow wasps are slender and have short tails, hence their name.

They are also known for their long, curved ovipositors that they use to inject eggs into wood-boring beetle larvae. 

Adult wasps feed on nectar and pollen, making them important pollinators. They are not aggressive and are not known to sting humans, so they can be tolerated around homes and gardens.

Overall, they aren’t left out of this list of the types of wasps in Montana.

8. Spider Wasp

The Spider Wasp (Entypus unifasciatus) is a species of wasp found throughout much of North America.

These types of wasps in Montana are very small, measuring around 5 mm in length. They are most commonly found in the meadows and forests of Montana. 

Further, their primary diet consists of spiders, which they hunt for and paralyze before feeding on them.

Their coloring is distinctive, with a bright yellow abdomen, black head, and thorax. They can often hover around spiders’ webs, looking for their prey.

9. Squarehead Wasp

The Squarehead Wasp is a species of wasp found in Montana, which belongs to the family Ectemnius.

These solitary wasps live in dry, open habitats and feed on other insects. They are easily recognizable by their striking black-and-white coloration and distinctive square heads. 

The female squarehead wasp builds her nest alone, using mud or pebbles to construct it. Once the eggs are laid, she will guard them until they hatch.

Although they may look intimidating, squarehead wasps, one of the various types of wasps in Montana, are actually quite docile and pose little threat to humans.

10. Thread-Waisted Wasp

Thread-waisted wasps are types of wasps in Montana, and their slender, thread-like waist can identify them.

They are usually about one-half inch in length and are reddish-brown with black markings. The females have a sting, and the larvae feed on caterpillars. 

These wasps make their nests in protected locations like wood piles and the cracks and crevices of wooden structures.

Thread-waisted wasps are an important part of the Montana ecosystem as they help to control insect populations that could be harmful to crops or other animals.

11. Weevil Wasp

The Weevil Wasp (Cerceris spp.) is a type of wasp found in Montana. They are small, dark-colored wasps with slender bodies and long antennae.

These wasps feed primarily on beetle larvae, including weevils. Going further, they use their strong mandibles to burrow into the soil for food. 

In addition, these insects, also types of wasps in Montana, are often seen hovering around flowers in search of nectar.

These wasps rarely sting humans but can be aggressive when protecting their nests.

It’s important to be aware of these wasps if you live in or near Montana, and make sure to give them plenty of space if you see them.

12. Braconid Wasp

The Braconid Wasp, also known as Atanycolus spp., is a small, black and yellow wasp native to the US state of Montana.

These wasps are parasitic, meaning they lay their eggs inside of other insects like caterpillars and aphids.

The larvae feed off the host insect before emerging as adults. Braconid Wasps can be found near forests, grasslands, and meadows in Montana.

They are considered beneficial due to their natural pest control abilities, helping keep the insect population balanced.

As such, it is important to take care when handling these particular types of wasps in Montana, as they can be aggressive if disturbed.

13. Common Paper Wasp

The common paper wasp is a species of paper wasp found in Montana, typically nesting in small colonies in sheltered areas.

Paper wasps are quite small and can reach up to 3 cm in length, with a black and yellow patterned abdomen.

They feed on nectar from flowers and catch insects for food for their young. They build nests of paper-like material in eaves, decks, and window frames, as well as under bridges and in other areas protected from the elements. 

Paper wasps benefit the environment as they help control populations of harmful insects and pollinate flowers.

They are not aggressive and rarely sting unless disturbed or provoked, making them a beneficial part of the natural ecosystem.

We aren’t done with this list of the different types of wasps in Montana. Continue reading!

14. Common Thread-Waisted Wasp

This is next on our list of amazing types of wasps in Montana. Thread-waisted wasps are common throughout Montana and are easily recognizable by their unique black and yellow striped bodies.

These wasps are typically around 1 inch long and have a slender, thread-like waist with two distinct body segments. 

They build their nests on the ground using mud or dirt and can be found near gardens or open fields.

Thread-waisted wasps are solitary and non-aggressive, so they pose no threat to humans. They are also important pollinators and help control pests like caterpillars and aphids.

15. Cuckoo Wasp

Cuckoo wasps are a fascinating group of parasitoid wasps found throughout Montana.

They vary in size and color but are generally smaller than most other wasp species and can range from dull brown to shiny metallic blue or green.

Equally important to note, they are types of wasps in Montana. These parasitic wasps lay their eggs on the larvae of other insects, and when the larvae hatch, the cuckoo wasp larvae feed off of them until they emerge as adults.

Because of their unique reproduction method, cuckoo wasps are significant predators in the food chain and help control pest populations.

16. Double-Banded Scoliid Wasp

The Double-banded Scoliid Wasp (Scolia bicincta) is a species of wasp commonly found in the western United States, including Montana.

This type of wasp has a distinctive two-toned black and yellow body, with two prominent yellow bands running across its abdomen.

As a member of the family Scoliidae, this wasp is a solitary digger wasp and feeds on the larvae of other insects, such as grasshoppers, beetles, and caterpillars. 

The female double-banded scoliid wasp will burrow into the soil to lay eggs and provision the burrows with paralyzed prey for the emerging larvae to feed on.

In addition to being beneficial predators of insect pests, they also provide pollination services to various flowers. Talking about the numerous types of wasps in Montana, this cannot be left out!

17. European Paper Wasp

The European Paper Wasp (Polistes dominula) is a species of wasp found in Montana. They have an orange-brown head, thorax, and yellow-brown abdomen with black stripes.

Uniquely, they have also considered types of wasps in Montana. Surging, they are commonly seen hovering around flowers and bushes looking for nectar and insects to feed on.

They typically build their nests in the corners of windows, eaves, or other sheltered areas. The European Paper Wasp is an important pollinator and can help to improve crop yields.

18. Giant Ichneumon Wasp

Different types of wasps in Montana? The Giant Ichneumon Wasp (Megarhyssa spp) is a parasitic wasp found in many parts of Montana.

The female wasps are quite large, with their bodies reaching up to two inches in length and antennae that can be up to four inches long. 

The larvae of the Giant Ichneumon Wasp feed on the wood-boring larvae of large beetles such as the carpenter bee. As adults, the wasps feed on nectar and can often be seen visiting flowers.

The Giant Ichneumon Wasp is an important predator in Montana’s forests, helping to maintain a healthy balance in the environment.

19. Great Black Wasp

The Great Black Wasp is one of the most interesting and important types of wasps in Montana. It is a solitary species that inhabits open, sunny areas and nests in dry, well-drained soils.

These wasps are large and black and have yellow markings on the abdomen and the thorax.

What’s more? They feed on nectar but are predators, feeding on caterpillars, crickets, and grasshoppers.

The Great Black Wasp is an important pollinator in Montana and can benefit gardeners as they help control insect pests.

20. Great Golden Digger Wasp

The Great Golden Digger Wasp (Sphex ichneumoneus) is an impressive-looking wasp species found in Montana.

It is a large wasp, measuring up to two inches long, and its body is covered with orange and black bands.

In addition to being one of the types of wasps in Montana, its legs are yellow, and its wings are brown. 

The female wasp uses her long mandibles to dig burrows in the soil, where she will lay her eggs.

Once the eggs hatch, she will catch prey for them to feed on. They mainly feed on grasshoppers, crickets, and caterpillars.

Although the Great Golden Digger Wasp looks intimidating, it is not aggressive and will not sting unless provoked.

21. Horntail Wasp

Finally, on our list of the types of wasps in Montana, the Horntail Wasp is a type of insect native to the state.

It is a large species with a body length of up to 4 cm and a black body with yellowish-orange wings.

The head of the Horntail Wasp is typically elongated with a long snout, and its antennae are short and slender. 

As with most wasps, the Horntail Wasp feeds on small insects, spiders, and other arthropods. It is found in open woodlands and meadows where plenty of trees or shrubs can be used for nesting.

This wasp species is often considered beneficial to humans because it helps to control pest populations by preying on many harmful insects.


Montana is home to a wide variety of insect species, and wasps are no exception! Wasps are important predators in the ecosystem and provide important services such as pest control.

Whether you’re a backyard gardener or an avid outdoorsman, it’s important to get to know Montana’s different types of wasps. 

This blog post explored the various species of wasps found in Montana, their habits, and ways to identify them.

Read the article above to learn more about these fascinating creatures, which are types of wasps in Montana!

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