26 Different Types of Wasps in Ohio

Types of Wasps in Ohio
Image by: depositphotos.com

Ohio is home to many species of wasps, from yellow jackets and mud daubers to cicada killers and spider wasps.

These creatures can be intimidating due to their size and stingers, but they can also benefit the environment.

If you are interested in learning more about the types of wasps in Ohio, then you’ve come to the right place. 

In this blog post, we will discuss the most common types of wasps in Ohio, their habitats, behaviors, and how to interact with them safely.

As we know, Ohio is home to various wasps; the Buckeye State is buzzing with different species of these buzzing insects.

We will now explore the various types of wasps found in Ohio and discuss some of their characteristics.

Read on to learn more about the different types of wasps in Ohio!

1. Spider Wasp

Spider Wasps, also known as Priocnemis, are a wasp native to Ohio. They measure a length of up to 10 millimeters and vary in color from yellowish-brown to dark black.

These types of wasps in Ohio usually construct their nests by tunneling into dirt or other soils. 

They feed on spiders and other insects, with the wasps’ larvae developing inside the spider’s body after being parasitized.

Spider Wasps are not considered dangerous to humans, but it is wise to keep your distance from them as they can sting if provoked.

There are multiple species of spider wasps in Ohio, such as the Pompilidae, Mutillidae, and Sphecidae. 

The Sphecidae family includes species such as the Eastern Cicada Killer Wasp and the Large Sand Wasp. The Mutillidae family includes species such as the Velvet Ant and Red Velvet Ant.

Lastly, the Pompilidae family contains species such as the Spider Hunter Wasp and the Sand Spider Wasp. Each species of spider wasp has different nesting habits, diets, and behaviors.

2. Short-Tailed Ichneumon Wasp

The Short-tailed Ichneumon Wasp (Ophion spp.) is one of the most common types of wasps in Ohio.

They typically measure up to 8mm long and have black or brown bodies with yellow, orange, or white markings.

They are solitary hunters, and their main prey is caterpillars, although they will also feed on other insects.

They create their nests in soil or other protected areas, often inside the walls of homes or garages.

These wasps use their sharp ovipositor to parasitize the caterpillars of other species.

They lay their eggs inside the host, which eventually hatch and consume the caterpillar. These wasps are not aggressive and will only sting if provoked.

Despite this, they play an important role in controlling populations of certain pests, like caterpillars, and should be respected for their contribution to our local ecosystems.

3. Scoliid Wasp

The Scoliid Wasp is a type of wasp found in Ohio. They are typically black with yellow markings and average around 0.75 to 1.25 inches long.

The wings are reddish brown, and the body is covered in fine hair. Scoliid Wasps are solitary, meaning they live alone. 

They feed on nectar and pollen and prey on other insects, particularly caterpillars. They are commonly found in wooded areas, gardens, and farms near human dwellings.

These specific types of wasps in Ohio are an important part of the ecosystem as they help control pest populations. 

Scoliid Wasps benefit farmers and gardeners, as they can reduce pest numbers and increase crop yields.

However, these wasps can become a nuisance if they build nests close to human dwellings or buildings.

In these cases, it is best to contact a pest control professional for advice and assistance.

4. Sand Wasp

The sand wasp, or Bembix spp., is one of the commonly found types of wasps in Ohio. These wasps are generally medium to large and possess a black body with yellow markings.

They prefer to nest in sandy habitats, often making their nests directly in the soil. 

Sand wasps are solitary species, so there is only one individual per nest. Females feed on nectar and pollen from flowers, while males do not feed at all.

Sand wasps are beneficial insects as they help control other insect populations through predation. 

They feed on caterpillars, flies, grasshoppers, and beetles. As such, they can provide natural pest control to gardens, lawns, and agricultural fields.

Sand wasps are important pollinators, helping to ensure the health of local ecosystems and plants.

5. Ringed Paper Wasp

The Ringed Paper Wasp is also one of the most common types of wasps in Ohio. These wasps are typically yellow or reddish-brown and may have a few black markings on their bodies.

They can grow up to an inch in length and build nests from paper pulp. They prefer to build their nests in protected places such as hollow trees, barns, and attics.

Ringed Paper Wasps are predatory and feed on other insects such as flies, caterpillars, and grasshoppers.

They also provide beneficial pest control by hunting down and consuming other nuisance bugs.

The Ringed Paper Wasp is social and lives in colonies that contain a queen, workers, and drones.

The queen lays eggs, and the workers build the nest while the drones patrol the area around the nest in search of food. The workers also take care of the larvae, feeding them with chewed-up insects. 

These types of wasps in Ohio are rarely aggressive but may sting if disturbed or threatened. The sting is mild but can be very painful and cause swelling and redness at the site of the sting.

It is important to exercise caution around Ringed Paper Wasps as their sting can be dangerous for those with allergies.

6. Potter Wasp

The Potter Wasp, also known as Ancistrocerus antilope, is one of Ohio’s most common species of wasps.

This species is solitary and prefers open habitats with bare ground, fields, meadows, and roadside areas. These wasps feed on various small insects, including flies and caterpillars. 

They build their nests out of mud that they gather from the ground and form into small round pots.

This species is brown and black and can reach up to 1 inch in length. It is important to be aware of these wasps outdoors in Ohio, as they can deliver painful stings if provoked.

7. Red Paper Wasp

Red paper wasps are a common sight throughout Ohio during the summer months.

These social wasps build paper-like nests in trees, shrubs, and man-made structures like porches and decks. The red paper wasp is easily identified by its red and black body. 

Red paper wasps prey on caterpillars and other insects, making them an important part of the natural ecosystem.

While they will defend their nest if threatened, they are not normally aggressive toward humans.

These are also types of wasps in Ohio and are important pollinator species that should be protected when possible.

8. Northern Paper Wasp

The Northern Paper Wasp is a species of social wasp found throughout much of the United States, including Ohio.

This species builds nests on protected surfaces such as under eaves or porch roofs, though they may also be found in tree branches and shrubs.

The paper-like nest is often suspended from an overhanging structure by a single stalk and is composed of many grayish-brown hexagonal cells. 

Females are black and yellow with reddish-brown legs and abdomen, while males are smaller and mostly black.

They feed mainly on caterpillars, flies, and aphids and pollinate flowers. Northern Paper Wasps can be identified by their reddish-brown legs and black-and-yellow patterned bodies. 

They are relatively small, measuring around 1 inch long, and have a reddish-brown black-and-yellow striped abdomen.

These wasps can be distinguished from other species of Polistes due to their larger size and more distinctive coloring.

They can be found throughout Ohio and the Midwest, where they are beneficial for controlling pest populations and pollinating flowers.

9. Metric Paper Wasp

The Metric Paper Wasp (Polistes metricus) is a common species of wasp found throughout Ohio.

They are medium-sized wasps with a length of between 0.7 and 1.2 inches. These wasps are black with reddish-orange patches on the abdomen. 

These are one of the different types of wasps in Ohio that are often seen nesting on surfaces around homes and buildings.

They feed on insects and caterpillars and form colonies consisting of several females and one male.

They can benefit humans by preying on pest insects but can become a nuisance if they nest too close to human dwellings.

10. Leucospid Wasp

Of the various types of wasps in Ohio, Leucospid wasps are parasitoid wasps found in the state. They are most commonly found in wooded areas, such as forests, parks, and gardens.

These wasps are generally small and black, with yellow and orange markings on their bodies. 

They use their long ovipositors to inject their eggs into other insects, where the eggs hatch and feed on the host insect’s larvae.

Leucospid wasps play an important role in the ecosystem by controlling pest populations, such as aphids and caterpillars.

If you see these wasps around your home or garden, you don’t need to be alarmed – they pose no threat to humans and animals and can even help keep the local bug population in check.

11. American Pelecinid Wasp

The American Pelecinid Wasp is one of the most common types of wasps in Ohio. It has a distinct yellow and black patterned body, with a long tail that curls up at the end.

This type of wasp typically measures 1-2 inches in length and can be identified by its long tail. 

The American Pelecinid Wasp is an important predator, helping to control insect pests in gardens and farms.

They also provide a valuable food source for other animals, such as birds and bats. They have a large range in Ohio and can be found in various habitats, including urban and rural areas.

They are active throughout summer and can be seen hovering around flowers and other plants.

12. Blue-Winged Wasp

The blue-winged wasp is an interesting species of wasp native to Ohio. The adult wasps are approximately 1 inch long and have a black body with bright blue wings.

The antennae are also bright blue. They feed mainly on other insects but enjoy eating fruits and flower nectar. 

Additionally, the female will build nests in the ground using mud and saliva and can lay up to 100 eggs per nest.

Blue-winged wasps are known for their predatory behavior and are important natural pest control for the region. Blue-winged wasps are found in a variety of habitats throughout Ohio. 

These particular types of wasps in Ohio can be found in gardens, fields, forests, and wetlands. They prefer sunny and warm climates but can also tolerate colder temperatures.

During the spring, the blue-winged wasps become very active as they search for food and build nests. 

They will also aggressively protect their territory from other types of wasps in Ohio. In addition, these wasps are also known to feed on insects such as caterpillars, aphids, and other small bugs.

13. Braconid Wasp

Braconid Wasps are an essential type of wasp found in Ohio. These wasps are parasitic, meaning they lay eggs on host insects, usually caterpillars.

When the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the host, killing it. This process helps to naturally control insect pests and keep them from becoming a nuisance. 

Braconid wasps, one of the types of wasps in Ohio, can be identified by their small size and black bodies.

They also have long antennae and a yellow stripe down their back. They usually nest in trees or shrubs and can often be seen hovering around flowers.

Moreso, the Braconid Wasp is one of the most abundant types of wasps in Ohio. These wasps are important for pollination and controlling harmful pests’ spread.

It’s important to recognize these wasps’ valuable role in our environment, so it’s best to leave them alone whenever possible.

If you find a nest, it’s best to contact a professional pest control company as soon as possible.

14. Common Paper Wasp

The common paper wasp is a type of social wasp native to Ohio. They can be identified by their bright yellow and black coloration and slender bodies.

These wasps construct open-faced nests made of wood pulp, which hang in sheltered areas like under the eaves of houses. They feed on nectar, fruit, and insects like caterpillars. 

Paper wasps are also known for their defensive behavior, including using their long stingers to ward off potential threats.

Paper wasps are considered beneficial to ecosystems as they help control some crop pests’ populations.

They also play an important role in pollination by visiting flowers to collect nectar and spread pollen. 

Despite their benefits, it is important to exercise caution when encountering these creatures.

If a nest is located close to your home, it is best to have it removed by a professional to avoid any potential stinging incidents. 

15. Common Thread-Waisted Wasp

The common thread-waisted wasp is an impressive sight when encountered in Ohio. This insect will draw attention with its slender, glossy black body and bright yellow markings.

This wasp species is typically found in meadows, open grassy areas, and roadside weeds.

They are types of wasps in Ohio that feed on nectar and can be seen hovering around flowers in search of food.

The thread-waisted wasp is a solitary species that builds its own nest and provides for itself. It is a beneficial insect that preys on garden pests such as aphids, caterpillars, and beetles.

For this reason, these wasps are considered beneficial to the environment and should be left alone if found in your garden.

If disturbed, they may sting, but their venom is not considered dangerous to humans.

16. Great Golden Digger Wasp

The Great Golden Digger Wasp, also known as Sphex ichneumoneus, is a species of wasp found in Ohio and other states in the United States.

These wasps are solitary and feed on insects like crickets and grasshoppers, which they catch with their long legs and antennae.

They are types of wasps in Ohio that can be identified by their bright golden coloring, which is unusual among wasps. 

The Great Golden Digger Wasp is typically found in areas with a lot of grass or other vegetation, and they tend to build their nests in the ground.

The Great Golden Digger Wasp is an important pollinator and helps spread pollen between plants.

It is an important pest control agent since it helps keep grasshopper populations in check. 

However, their aggressive nature can be a nuisance when they come into contact with humans or animals.

It is important to be careful around these wasps and never to disturb their nests. If necessary, seek professional help to remove these wasps from your property.

17. Great Black Wasp

The Great Black Wasp is one of the most common wasps you can find in Ohio. It is a large black and yellow wasp that can be seen flying around gardens, parks, and meadows throughout the state.

These wasps are mainly solitary and feed on other insects, such as caterpillars, grubs, and fly larvae. 

The females build nests of mud and paper and leave them near the ground. Their long black body can identify them with yellowish-orange stripes and yellow legs. The males have bright yellow heads and antennae.

These wasps rarely attack or sting people but still benefit the environment. They help keep insect populations in check and provide food for birds and other predators.

If you come across a nest, you should leave it alone since it helps keep other pests away from your home.

18. Giant Ichneumon Wasp

The Giant Ichneumon Wasp, Megarhyssa spp., is a large wasp commonly found in Ohio. They are typically black and can grow up to 1-2 inches in length.

They are parasitoids, meaning they lay their eggs in the bodies of other insects, such as wood-boring beetles. 

The larvae feed on the host insect’s tissues, eventually killing it. This wasp species can be found in various habitats, including forests, fields, meadows, and gardens.

These wasps are beneficial to humans because they help to control the populations of harmful wood-boring beetles, thus helping to protect trees from these pests. 

In addition, these are one of the types of wasps in Ohio that do not typically sting unless they are directly handled or threatened.

If you encounter a Giant Ichneumon Wasp, it is best to leave it alone and let it go about its business.

19. Four-Toothed Mason Wasp

The four-toothed mason wasp is a species of wasp that is found in Ohio. It is identified by its black and yellow stripes, four teeth on the end of its abdomen, and a single antenna.

This species prefers to live in deciduous woods or open fields. They build mud nests on stems or other plant structures, which they use to protect their larvae from predators.

These wasps are also social, living in small colonies and cooperating regarding tasks like building nests and defending their young.

These wasps can be beneficial in controlling pests since they prey on aphids and other small insects. 

They are also important pollinators for many plants since the females will collect pollen for food for their larvae.

Unfortunately, these wasps can also become pests if their numbers get out of control. In such cases, their nests should be destroyed to keep their population under control.

20. Five-Banded Thynnid Wasp

What are the types of wasps in Ohio? The five-banded thinned wasp is a small black and yellow species native to Ohio.

They can be found in forests and wooded areas, as well as in gardens and backyards. 

These wasps are around one centimeter long with distinctive bright yellow and black stripes on their abdomens.

They are solitary wasps and feed on insects like caterpillars. These wasps do not threaten humans or animals, though they may sting if provoked. 

As with all species of wasps, the five-banded thynnid wasp is an important part of the ecosystem.

They help keep pest populations under control and provide food for other insect-eating creatures.

These wasps’ presence in Ohio indicates a healthy environment and should be welcomed by gardeners and homeowners alike.

21. European Paper Wasp

European paper wasps are one of the most commonly seen types of wasps in Ohio. They are about 1.5 cm long with a distinctive black and yellow striped pattern on their bodies.

Their nests can be found hanging from structures such as buildings, tree branches, and plants. 

These wasps feed on nectar and insects, such as caterpillars and aphids. They are considered beneficial because they help to keep the population of these pests down.

European paper wasps, which are also on our list of the types of wasps in Ohio, can become aggressive if they feel threatened. 

It is important to be aware of them and take precautions when working in the areas that they inhabit. If disturbed, these wasps may sting, so protective clothing is advised.

Despite their ability to sting, they are not known to cause significant harm and can be beneficial in some areas by keeping pest populations down.

22. Double-Banded Scoliid Wasp

The Double-banded Scoliid Wasp is a common type of wasp that is found in the state of Ohio.

This species of wasp has a distinct black and yellow body and can reach lengths up to 1.5 inches. It also has two unique yellow bands on its abdomen, distinguishing it from other wasps in Ohio. 

The female Double-banded Scoliid Wasp feeds mainly on nectar from flowers, while the male feeds on insects.

This species of wasp is known to be beneficial as they help to control pest insect populations, such as aphids and caterpillars.

The Double-banded Scoliid Wasp can be found throughout the state of Ohio during the summer months, usually nesting in areas near gardens, meadows, and grasslands. 

They can often be seen hovering around flowers in search of nectar and are active during the day. They usually build their nests underground and return to the same area yearly.

If disturbed or threatened, this wasp species can become aggressive and sting, so caution should be taken when dealing with them.

23. Cuckoo Wasp

Cuckoo wasps are a family of wasps found in many parts of Ohio. These small, slender insects are easy to spot and often seen hovering around flowers or other garden areas.

They have a black and yellow coloring, two antennae on their heads, and long wings. 

Cuckoo wasps are types of wasps in Ohio that feed on nectar from flowers and other sweet-smelling plants. They also prey on other small insects, such as aphids, to provide food for their larvae.

Cuckoo wasps have distinctive characteristics that make them stand out among other types of wasps in Ohio. 

One of these is their habit of creating nests in cavities. This allows them to remain hidden while they search for food and reproduce.

In addition, they have a special defense mechanism in which they will vibrate their wings to create a buzzing sound when threatened. This helps to ward off potential predators and keep them safe.

24. Weevil Wasp

As we approach the end of this list of the different types of wasps in Ohio, we have the Weevil wasp, a type of parasitic wasp found in the state.

These solitary wasps have elongated bodies and may vary in color from black to yellow, but most have reddish-brown stripes. Weevil wasps can be identified by their long antennae and legs. 

These wasps are not aggressive and prefer to hunt weevils and other small insect pests. They benefit humans because they help control weevil populations that can damage crops.

Weevil wasps lay their eggs on the bodies of weevils, and the larvae feed on the hosts. These wasps are generally harmless to humans and can be beneficial when controlling weevil populations.

25. Thread-Waisted Wasp

The Thread-waisted Wasp is one of the most common types of wasps in Ohio. They are a species of digger wasps commonly found in fields and meadows, especially sandy soils.

These wasps have long, slender bodies and typically reach lengths of 3/4 to 1-3/8 inches.

The coloration of this species ranges from dark brown to black, with yellowish stripes along its sides.

Thread-waisted Wasps are solitary creatures and don’t build nests like other wasps. Instead, they hunt for grubs and other insect larvae, which they then paralyze with their sting and return to their burrows.

They are also known to feed on nectar and pollen, making them beneficial to the environment. They are not known to be aggressive and rarely sting people or animals.

26. Squarehead Wasp

Squarehead Wasps, also known as Ectemnius wasps, are a type of wasp found in Ohio. They are small wasps that measure between 0.7 and 1.2 inches in length and are dark brown or black.

These wasps have distinctive square-shaped heads and feed on nectar and other insect larvae. 

They can often be found living in the gardens and lawns of Ohioans and are beneficial insects as they feed on harmful insects.

Squarehead wasps are solitary and build small mud nests containing up to 10 individuals.

They do not have stingers but sometimes chase potential predators away if they feel threatened. They end our list of the various types of wasps in Ohio!


If you’ve ever encountered a wasp in Ohio, you know they come in various shapes, sizes, and colors.

But while many species of wasps are found throughout the state, some are more common than others.

Above, we explored the most common types of wasps in Ohio that you may encounter. 

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
You May Also Like