20 Different Types of Wasps in Oregon

types of wasps in oregon
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Oregon is home to a wide variety of insects, and wasps are no exception! There are many types of wasps in Oregon, ranging from harmless to potentially dangerous.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss some different types of wasps that you might come across in Oregon, from the small and inconspicuous to the impressive and intimidating. 

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or want to know what type of wasp to avoid, you’ll find the answers you need right here.

So keep reading to learn more about the various types of wasps in Oregon!

1. Common Thread-Waisted Wasp

To start with, the Common Thread-waisted Wasp (Ammophila procera) is the first of different types of wasps in Oregon to be discussed in this list. This wasp species is characterized by its long and slender body, hence its name.

The common thread-waisted wasp builds nests in the ground, in areas with adequate soil and humidity, such as garden beds or lawns. Also, it tends to prefer sandy soils.

When it comes to feeding, the common thread-waisted wasp typically preys on caterpillars and other soft-bodied insects, bringing them back to the nest for its larvae. They also feed on nectar from flowers, which can provide them with additional nutrition and energy.

Although the common thread-waisted wasp is generally non-aggressive, it can become territorial if it feels threatened. If you find a nest on your property, it’s best to leave it alone and observe it from a distance.

2. Common Paper Wasp

The common paper wasp (Polistes exclamans) is one of the most common types of wasps in Oregon. This wasp species can be identified by its orange and black coloring, slender body shape, and long antennae.

They are typically found living in small nests made of chewed plant material and saliva that they construct in protected areas such as under eaves and within wall voids. The colonies are usually relatively small, with around 100 individuals.

The main activity of these wasps is to scavenge for food to feed the colony, mostly consisting of insects, nectar, and fruit.

They are known to benefit their surroundings because they help control pests and pollinate flowers.

Despite this, it’s important to be cautious when dealing with these wasps, as their sting can cause severe allergic reactions in some people.

3. Braconid Wasp

Coming in third on our list of the various types of wasps in Oregon is the Braconid Wasp (Atanycolus spp.).

These wasps are typically quite small, with an average length of about 4 mm. They have a brownish-gray body and black wings. 

The female of this species lays its eggs inside the bodies of various pests, such as caterpillars and beetles. This then becomes the food for the wasp larvae when they hatch.

Braconid Wasps are beneficial to gardeners, as they help keep harmful pests in check.

These particular types of wasps in Oregon also have unique courtship behavior. When a male Braconid Wasp finds a potential mate, he will fly around her in circles, performing a dance to try and win her over.

If the female accepts his courtship, the two will mate, and the female will lay her eggs in the host pest’s body.

With this reproductive strategy, these wasps can quickly spread throughout an area, helping to control insect populations.

4. Boll’s Potter Wasp

The Boll’s Potter Wasp is next on this list of the different types of wasps in Oregon. This species is relatively small, with a body length of just 6–8 mm and black and yellow coloring.

The wasp has four long legs and a long, slender abdomen. They are commonly seen flying around flowers and other flowering plants, looking for nectar and pollen to feed on.

Furthermore, the females construct nests from mud, which they build into the shape of a bottle or pot. This species uses its long, thin proboscis to sip nectar from flowers and collect pollen, which it then uses to provision its nests.

This species is not considered to be aggressive and rarely stings humans, but they can become quite territorial if their nest is threatened.

5. Cuckoo Wasp

Cuckoo wasps, which belong to the family Chrysididae, can be found in Oregon. These small wasps are often metallic-looking and may vary in color.

They are parasites of other wasp species and feed on the larvae of their hosts. Cuckoo wasps are also solitary hunters who build nests in the soil or wood. 

As such, these specific ones of types of wasps in Oregon rarely cause harm to humans. Oregon is home to various cuckoo wasp species, including Chrysis nitidula, Chrysis marginata, and Chrysis grossa.

While these species may look similar to each other, their different colors and patterns can help you identify them. You may even spot cuckoo wasps hovering around flowers as they search for prey or host nests.

6. European Paper Wasp

The European Paper Wasp (Polistes dominula) is included in our list of the types of wasps in Oregon. It is identifiable by its reddish-orange color and black spots along its abdomen.

The European Paper Wasp typically builds its nest in sheltered areas like eaves or door frames, but may also build nests in vegetation such as trees or shrubs. 

It primarily feeds on caterpillars and other insects and actively seeks them out to feed its young. Its colonies are usually small, with an average of 25-50 individuals, but they can reach up to several hundred in some cases.

In addition, these wasps have been known to sting when disturbed, although their venom is not particularly potent.

7. Giant Ichneumon Wasp

The Giant Ichneumon Wasp (Megarhyssa spp) is one of the very impressive and intimidating types of wasps in Oregon.

These large insects are up to two inches in length and have long, thin abdomens that can reach up to three inches in length.

The Giant Ichneumon Wasp has black and yellow stripes on its body, but the males are usually more brightly colored than the females. 

These wasps are parasitoids, meaning they lay their eggs in other insects, including wood-boring beetle larvae. The wasp larvae then feed on the host insect until it is ready to emerge as an adult.

The Giant Ichneumon Wasp is not known to be aggressive and will not sting unless provoked.

8. Giant Ichneumon Wasp

The Giant Ichneumon Wasp, Norton’s (Megarhyssa nortoni), is one of the many types of wasps in Oregon. This species is unique in its size, measuring up to two inches in length.

It has a long, slender body with black and yellow coloration and two sets of transparent wings with brownish veins.

The Giant Ichneumon Wasp is a solitary creature and can be found in wooded areas.

This species of wasp has an interesting behavior: it uses its long ovipositor to drill into tree trunks in search of its prey, which consists of the larvae of wood-boring beetles.

Once it finds the larvae, it lays its eggs inside them so that when the eggs hatch, the larvae will serve as food for the newly hatched wasps.

The Giant Ichneumon Wasp is not known to sting humans, making it an interesting addition to your outdoor explorations in Oregon.

9. Great Golden Digger Wasp

The Great Golden Digger Wasp is one of the different types of wasps in Oregon that will be discussed in this list.

This type of wasp is a solitary species and is easily identifiable by its golden-yellowish color and its bright blue wings.

The Great Golden Digger Wasp is also known for their impressive digging skills as they build its nests in the ground. 

Furthermore, they mainly feed on nectar from flowers and larvae from other insects. These wasps are not aggressive and typically only sting when provoked.

Although the Great Golden Digger Wasp is found all over North America, its populations have recently declined due to the destruction of natural habitats.

Conservation efforts have been put in place to help protect this species so that it can continue to play a vital role in keeping our ecosystem healthy.

10. Horntail Wasp

Still, on the list of the various types of wasps in Oregon, we have the Horntail wasps, also known as wood wasps.

These large black and yellow striped insects can be up to two inches long and can be seen flying around trees in the summer months.

Their bodies are covered in sharp spines and possess an especially long ovipositor, a needle-like egg-laying organ. 

Horntail wasps are quite harmless, and their sting is considered relatively mild, although it can still be painful. They mainly feed on sap from trees and occasionally hunt other insects.

Although horntail wasps may seem intimidating due to their size and large stinger, they are typically non-aggressive and can be observed safely.

11. Leucospid Wasp

Parasitic types of wasps in Oregon? Leucospid wasps, from the family Leucospidae, are one type of them. These small wasps measure around 4-8 mm in length and are typically dark brown or black in color. Their slender bodies and long antennae characterize them.

Leucospid wasps typically inhabit deciduous forests, where they target a variety of beetle larvae as hosts for their larvae to feed on.

The adult female wasps search for these hosts and then lay their eggs directly onto them. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the host until they pupate into adults.

These wasps can benefit gardens and agricultural lands as they help control pest populations.

12. Norton’s Giant Ichneumon Wasp

The Norton’s Giant Ichneumon Wasp (Megarhyssa nortoni) is a type of wasp that can be found in Oregon. This large wasp species is easily recognizable due to its very long ovipositor, which can measure up to 4 inches long.

Despite its intimidating size and appearance, Norton’s Giant Ichneumon Wasp is a gentle creature that does not pose any harm to humans. 

This is one of the types of wasps in Oregon, and it is most commonly seen during the summer months. In addition to that, it feeds on wood-boring beetle larvae. 

Due to its impressive size and appearance, Norton’s Giant Ichneumon Wasp has become popular among insect enthusiasts. It is an important pollinator, and its larvae help to control the beetle population in Oregon.

Although they are not often seen, these fascinating wasps can make for great conversation starters!

13. Paper Wasp

The Paper Wasp (Polistes dorsalis dorsalis) is one of the numerous wasps in Oregon. This species is quite common in the state and is easily identified by its yellowish-brown coloring.

Also, it has a long black strip running down the center of its back. 

Paper Wasps are relatively large, growing up to an inch long, and they build distinctive papery nests in sheltered areas. They feed on nectar and other insects and often hunt around human homes and gardens.

Despite their intimidating appearance, these wasps are generally not aggressive and are not known to sting unless disturbed.

14. Potter Wasp

Looking for commonly seen types of wasps in Oregon? The Potter Wasp (Euodynerus spp.) is included. These wasps are small and black or dark brown in color, measuring between 6-12 mm in length. 

The Potter Wasp is best known for their nesting behavior, which involves constructing small clay pots to house its eggs and larvae. These nests can be found on tree trunks and branches, in crevices, and in other sheltered locations. 

The Potter Wasp feeds on various caterpillars, spiders, and other insects, making them an important part of the local ecosystem.

Despite their important role, they are not considered to be a nuisance species and are rarely seen interacting with humans.

They will sting if provoked, so it is best to admire them from a distance if you ever come across one in the wild.

15. Sand Wasp

The Sand Wasp, or Bembix spp., is a type of wasp found in Oregon. They are solitary wasps that are usually black in color and have yellow markings on the body and legs. They build nests in sandy areas, such as beaches and dunes. 

The female Sand Wasp digs a hole in the sand, places an egg inside, and seals it with mud. When the larvae hatch, it is provided with food by the female.

Sand Wasps are beneficial to humans because they prey on insect pests that harm crops and plants.

They are likewise one of the various types of wasps in Oregon and are often seen around flowers, where they feed on nectar and pollen.

Although they can sting if provoked, they are generally not aggressive toward humans. They are most commonly seen in the summer months when they are most active in Oregon.

16. Short-Tailed Ichneumon Wasp

The Short-tailed Ichneumon Wasp (Ophion spp.) is one of the common types of wasps in Oregon. It belongs to the Ichneumonidae family, which are parasitic wasps that hunt down other insects and use them as hosts for their larvae.

The female wasp has a long, slender body and ranges from black to yellow in color. Its most notable feature is its short, pointed tail.

Short-tailed Ichneumon Wasps are active during the summer months when they search for insects to use as hosts for their larvae. They prefer the larvae of moths, butterflies, and other Lepidoptera species.

When a suitable host is located, the female wasp will lay her eggs inside of it, and the larvae will feed off of the host until it is mature.

17. Weevil Wasp

The Weevil Wasp, also known as Cerceris spp., is one of the most common types of wasps in Oregon.

These wasps are large and black and are often seen hovering around gardens and lawns. They feed on the larvae of weevils and other grubs that can damage plant life.

Weevil wasps usually nest underground in the soil or rotten wood.

Weevil wasps benefit gardens and lawns as they help keep pest populations in check. They are relatively non-aggressive, though they may sting if provoked.

If you find a weevil wasp on your property, it’s best to leave it alone and allow it to help protect your plants from pests.

18. Spider Wasp

The Spider Wasp (Entypus) is a type of wasp found in Oregon. This wasp species are black and yellow, with distinct bands across its body.

The Spider Wasp typically grows to a length of between 12-17mm and is characterized by a thick waist and long, slender legs.

This one of the types of wasps in Oregon typically feeds on spiders, hence its name.

In terms of behavior, the Spider Wasp is a solitary creature that can often be found on flowers or other vegetation in search of food.

Females will lay eggs in spider webs or on their own eggs, and the larvae will feed on the spider before pupating and becoming an adult wasp.

These wasps are harmless to humans but can become aggressive if they feel threatened or disturbed.

19. Squarehead Wasp

The Squarehead Wasp, also known as Ectemnius spp., is a type of wasp native to the state of Oregon. These wasps are generally black in color and have distinct square-shaped heads.

They are often seen around gardens, feeding on nectar from flowers. Their larvae live in the ground, where they feed on small insects like aphids. 

Squarehead Wasps, types of wasps in Oregon, are solitary creatures, meaning they do not live in colonies and prefer to hunt alone.

When disturbed, these wasps will display aggressive behavior, so caution should be taken if they are encountered. They can also sting multiple times if provoked, so it is best to avoid them altogether.

20. Thread-Waisted Wasp

Thread-waisted wasps are types of wasps in Oregon that you might find. These wasps belong to the family Eremnophila and are usually identified by their narrow waists and thread-like bodies.

The most common species found in the region is Eremnophila aureonotata, which have dark green-black bodies and yellow heads.

These wasps mainly feed on caterpillars and grasshoppers and build nests in rotting wood or tree stumps. They are solitary hunters but sometimes may be seen in groups when searching for prey.

Thread-waisted wasps can also sting if provoked, so it is best to observe them from a distance.


Oregon is home to various species of wasps, from tiny parasitoid wasps to large predatory wasps. Each type of wasp has its own unique characteristics and plays an important role in the state’s ecosystem. 

In this blog post, we looked at some of the different types of wasps in Oregon, including their habits and habitats.

We are sure the guide above helped to learn more about these fascinating insects and discover why they are so important to our environment.

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