31 Different Types of Wasps in Wisconsin

Different Types of Wasps in Wisconsin
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Are you curious about the different types of wasps in Wisconsin that you can find? With over 600 species of wasps in the United States, it can be hard to track them all. 

This blog post will explore all the different types of wasps in Wisconsin.

We’ll look at their characteristics, habits, and more so that you can get to know these amazing creatures a little better.

1. Hyperparasitic Wasp

The Hyperparasitic Wasp (Taeniogonalos gundlachii) is a small species of wasp native to Wisconsin. It is about 0.5 inches in length and is yellow and black.

This species is a parasitoid that preys on the larvae of other insect species, particularly moths, flies, beetles, and caterpillars. 

It has a short lifespan of up to two months and is most commonly seen in late spring and early summer.

This species is beneficial as it helps to control pests and can help maintain healthy ecosystems. It starts off with our list of the different types of wasps in Wisconsin.

2. Horntail Wasp

The horntail wasp (Urocerus spp.) is a species of large wasps that is native to Wisconsin.

The horntail wasp can reach lengths of up to one inch long and is easily recognizable by its long, pointed abdomen and long antennae.

Horntail wasps can be found in wooded areas and forest habitats, where they feed on tree sap and other plant material. 

In the summer months, female horntail wasps will build their nests in rotting wood or under the bark. The horntail wasp can become aggressive when disturbed and will sting if threatened.

Horntail wasps are beneficial to the environment as they help to keep trees and woodlands healthy by controlling insect pests. 

They are also types of wasps in Wisconsin that serve as food for other predators, such as spiders and birds.

Although these wasps are not typically dangerous to humans, it is best to be cautious around them, especially if you are allergic to their venom.

3. Great Golden Digger Wasp

The Great Golden Digger Wasp is native to Wisconsin and is known for its impressive size.

They can grow up to 1.25 inches long and are black in color with yellow stripes on their bodies and wings.

These wasps play an important role in the environment as they are natural predators of insects such as grasshoppers, caterpillars, beetles, and flies. 

Despite their large size, these wasps are generally not aggressive toward humans and will only sting if threatened or disturbed.

Great Golden Digger Wasps, types of wasps in Wisconsin, build nests in the ground and are usually solitary creatures.

Interestingly, the female will lay her eggs in the nest and then leave the nest; the larvae that hatch from the eggs will feed off of the female’s captured prey left in the nest.

4. Great Black Wasp

The Great Black Wasp, also known as Sphex pensylvanicus, is one of Wisconsin’s most commonly found wasp species.

The wasps typically have shiny black bodies with yellowish-white markings along the sides. 

The wasp can grow up to 1 inch in length and prefer to live near grasslands and open meadows. They prey on grasshoppers, crickets, and beetles and often create nests from mud and saliva.

Although they can be aggressive when threatened, they are not known to sting humans unless provoked.

5. Great Black Wasp

The Great Black Wasp (Sphex pensylvanicus) is a species of wasp found throughout the midwestern and eastern United States. In Wisconsin, it is common in agricultural and rural areas, especially near grasslands.

The Great Black Wasp is easily recognized by its large size, ranging from about 15-20 mm in length. It has a black body with yellow markings on the abdomen.

The Great Black Wasp preys on various insects, including grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, and other insect pests.

The female wasp constructs a mud-like nest on vertical surfaces such as trees and walls, filling it with paralyzed prey to feed its larvae.

The adults of these types of wasps in Wisconsin feed on nectar and pollen from flowers. They are active during the day and can often be seen hovering around flower beds or in gardens.

6. Giant Ichneumon Wasp

The Giant Ichneumon Wasp is a species of parasitic wasp found in Wisconsin and other parts of the United States.

This particular type of wasp is part of the family Ichneumonidae, one of North America’s largest parasitic wasps.

It is distinguished from other species by its long ovipositor, which it uses to inject eggs into the tunnels of its hosts. 

The host can be a beetle or a wood-boring insect, such as carpenter ants or termites.

The eggs will hatch and feed on the host until they become adults and eventually fly away to start the cycle again.

In Wisconsin, Giant Ichneumon Wasps can typically be found in forests and wooded areas near deciduous trees. 

They tend to be more active during spring and summer, with the peak time being during late May and early June.

While they may appear intimidating due to their size and formidable appearance, they are actually very beneficial for the environment and don’t pose any threat to humans or other animals. They are also types of wasps in Wisconsin.

7. Five-Banded Thynnid Wasp

The Five-banded Thynnid Wasp is a solitary species native to Wisconsin. It is easily identified by its distinct bands of yellow on the abdomen and its long, slender body.

The wasp uses its long proboscis to feed on the nectar of flowers and prefers living in grassy areas near lakes or ponds. 

The Five-banded Thynnid Wasp is a helpful species as it helps to control the population of aphids, which can become pests in gardens or crop fields.

The Five-banded Thynnid Wasp can be found in Wisconsin throughout the summer months and is a welcome sight for anyone looking to observe these fascinating insects. 

They are harmless to humans and can be easily identified by their bright colors and banded abdomens.

With patience and a keen eye, you can spot this lovely wasp and appreciate its beauty.

8. European Paper Wasp

The European Paper Wasp (Polistes dominula) is a species of wasp found in many parts of Wisconsin.

This type of wasp is recognizable by its bright yellow and black coloration and slender body.

European Paper Wasps feed on insects like flies, caterpillars, and other arthropods like spiders. 

They build nests of paper-like material made from chewed wood fibers. The nests are usually constructed under eaves, tree hollows, or attic.

While they do not sting humans unless provoked, they can still deliver painful stings if they feel threatened.

It is important to take caution when removing a European Paper Wasp nest as they will defend their nest with force. 

European Paper Wasps can also benefit the environment since they help control pest populations.

They are important pollinators for certain flowers and crops, which helps with crop yields and local ecology.

While it is important to use caution when encountering these types of wasps in Wisconsin, it is also important to remember that they can play an important role in the ecosystem.

9. Double-Banded Scoliid Wasp

This species of wasp is found in the northern Midwest, including Wisconsin. The double-banded scoliid wasp is a large and impressive insect with a long body and prominent wings.

It is black with two orange or yellow stripes that divide the abdomen into three sections. They feed on small larvae or larvae of other insects, as well as flowers and plants.

This wasp species are found in gardens and agricultural fields but is not considered aggressive toward humans.

The double-banded scoliid wasp is an important predator of harmful insects, making it an important part of the ecosystem in Wisconsin.

10. Cuckoo Wasp

Cuckoo wasps are small, solitary insects found in many parts of Wisconsin. They typically have long, slender bodies with black and yellow striped patterns.

These wasps feed on the larvae of other insects, such as caterpillars, flies, and aphids. 

Cuckoo wasps are known to be beneficial to gardens and crops because they help to control pest populations.

In addition to being beneficial, they are also an interesting species to observe as they fly around and collect their prey.

Cuckoo wasps often nest in the ground or trees, depending on the species. Some species build mud nests, while others construct elaborate paper-like cells.

Most cuckoo wasps are only active during the daytime, although some can be seen at night. It is one of the various types of wasps in Wisconsin. 

To identify them, look for a black and yellow striped pattern along the body and a long, slender shape.

With so many species of cuckoo wasps living in Wisconsin, you may come across one if you’re lucky!

11. Common Thread-Waisted Wasp

The Common Thread-waisted Wasp, also known as Ammophila procera, is a type of wasp found in Wisconsin.

This species belongs to the family Sphecidae and is commonly found near open sandy areas, such as beaches, meadows, and pastures.

These wasps are robust and large, up to two inches long. The head and thorax are black, and the abdomen is metallic blue or green.

The Common Thread-waisted Wasp, one of the types of wasps in Wisconsin, builds its nest in the ground. The nest is made from small pieces of dry twigs, dried grasses, and leaves.

The female wasp gathers these materials from around the nest and then packs them together with saliva and mud to form a small, tightly packed mound. 

Inside the mound, several cells are made to house the eggs and young wasps. This species is a solitary wasp and does not form colonies like some other wasp species.

12. Common Paper Wasp

The common paper wasp (Polistes exclamans) is a social species that builds small, open paper nests in sheltered areas. These wasps are found throughout Wisconsin, typically in wooded and grassy areas.

The common paper wasp has a distinct black and yellow body with black antennae and four transparent wings. 

On this list of the types of wasps in Wisconsin, they feed on nectar and insects, and they primarily prey on caterpillars and flies.

The common paper wasp is an important part of the ecosystem in Wisconsin, as they act as natural pest control by eating harmful insects.

Common paper wasps’ nests are constructed from chewed-up plant matter mixed with saliva. They hang the nests in trees, shrubs, and man-made structures like sheds and garages.

These wasps are very protective of their nests and will sting if threatened. However, the common paper wasp does not typically threaten humans unless provoked.

If you notice a nest in your yard, it is best to leave it alone and not disturb the wasps.

13. Braconid Wasp

The Braconid Wasp (Atanycolus spp.) is one of the types of wasps in Wisconsin. These wasps have a black body and are typically between 1/8 to 1/4 inch long.

The main difference between Braconid Wasps and other types of wasps is their antennae, which are curved and feathered. 

Braconid Wasps feed on the larvae of other insects, such as aphids and moths, and can often be found in areas with large populations of these pests.

They are also beneficial to the environment since they help control insect populations.

Braconid Wasps build nests in wood or the ground, typically near the area where their prey resides. 

If a person encounters a Braconid Wasp nest, they should leave it alone since they are usually not aggressive.

It is important to be aware of these types of wasps in Wisconsin when outdoors, as they may sting if provoked.

However, their sting is generally not as severe as that of a bee or hornet. Braconid Wasps provide an essential environmental service and should not be considered a nuisance pest.

14. Blue-Winged Wasp

Of the various types of wasps in Wisconsin, the blue-winged wasp is a species of Scolia found in the state.

This species is characterized by its long body and striking coloration of bright blue wings and black abdomens.

They are solitary wasps, meaning they do not form colonies or socialize with other species. 

These wasps are often found near water sources such as rivers, ponds, and lakes, where they feed on insects such as flies, beetles, and caterpillars.

The blue-winged wasp is a beneficial species in the garden as they help control pest populations.

The blue-winged wasp, which is also one of the types of wasps in Wisconsin, is also known for its nest-building behavior.

Unlike many other wasp species, this species does not use wood or mud to construct their nests. 

Instead, the female will search for small tunnels or cavities to lay her eggs. Once the eggs are laid, she will fill the cavity with dirt and debris to protect the eggs from predators. The larvae will eventually hatch and mature into adult wasps.

15. Blue-Winged Wasp

The Blue-winged Wasp is a species of wasp that is native to Wisconsin. These wasps have large, black bodies, and their wings have blue markings.

They typically nest in the ground but can also be found in dead wood or other cavities. The female wasps are responsible for creating the nest and taking care of the larvae.

Blue-winged wasps feed on nectar and can be seen foraging for food around gardens and flowering plants.

These wasps can sometimes be considered a nuisance when they construct their nests in the ground near human dwellings. 

The Blue-winged Wasp is an important pollinator for many flowers and crops, as it plays an essential role in the ecosystem.

It can also help to control insect populations by preying on other smaller insects.

If you spot a Blue-winged Wasp in your garden or yard, leave it alone, as it is helping to keep your plants healthy.

16. Ichneumon Wasp

There are many types of wasps in Wisconsin that you aren’t aware of. Mesostenus thoracicus, commonly known as the ichneumon wasp, is a species of parasitic wasp that can be found throughout Wisconsin.

These wasps are small, usually less than an inch in length, and they come in various colors, including browns, oranges, yellows, and black. 

Ichneumon wasps are beneficial insects that feed on caterpillars, grubs, and other pests.

They use their long ovipositor to deposit their eggs in the bodies of host insects, where their larvae feed and develop.

Mesostenus thoracicus is found primarily in deciduous woodlands, forests, grasslands, and gardens.

17. Large Four-Spotted Scoliid Wasp

The Large Four-spotted Scoliid Wasp, or Pygodasis quadrimaculata, is a species of wasp native to Wisconsin.

This species is typically between two and five centimeters in length, with four black spots on its back.

It is a solitary species that prefer open fields and meadows where they build nests in the ground. 

They feed on nectar, pollen, and other insects, making them important pollinators. The adults are active during the day and fly low over vegetation in search of food.

The Large Four-spotted Scoliid Wasp is an important part of the Wisconsin ecosystem and can help keep insect populations balanced.

Of the various types of wasps in Wisconsin, it is an important species for native bees and other beneficial insects.

It also helps reduce the spread of pests and diseases as it feeds on many different types of bugs. 

Protecting this species from harm is important, so ensure to leave undisturbed nests and not use pesticides near these areas.

With proper protection, this species can help keep Wisconsin’s environment healthy for generations to come.

18. American Pelecinid Wasp

The American Pelecinid Wasp (Pelecinus polyturator) is a type of wasp native to Wisconsin.

This species is rarely seen as it spends most of its time hidden in soil or wood, but its long abdomen and distinctive yellowish-brown markings can be identified. 

These wasps hunt larvae and build their nests in hidden places such as woodpiles, rock crevices, and underground burrows.

In Wisconsin, they are most commonly found in fields and forests, usually near rotting logs or other food sources.

They are also known to feed on nectar from flowers, making them important pollinators in the state.

19. Leucospid Wasp

The Leucospid Wasp (Leucospis spp.) is a type of wasp native to Wisconsin. They have long slender bodies, usually black and yellow or brown.

They measure around 1/2 inch long. They can be seen in meadows, along roadsides, and on flowers during the summer months. 

The Leucospid Wasp feeds on small insects such as caterpillars, beetles, and aphids. This one of the types of wasps in Wisconsin also feeds on flower nectar.

The female wasps lay their eggs on the host insect, and when the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the host insect until it is dead. 

The Leucospid Wasp is an important predator in agricultural ecosystems since it helps to keep pest populations in check.

Its presence helps to maintain a healthy balance between predators and prey and also helps to pollinate flowers.

20. Metric Paper Wasp

Metric paper wasps are a species of social wasps native to Wisconsin. These wasps are found throughout the state in moist habitats near rivers and wetlands or gardens and yards.

Metric paper wasps build large nests containing up to 200 individuals, which they protect aggressively. 

They have black-and-yellow markings on their bodies and can grow up to 1 inch in length. Their sting is painful but not dangerous, and they are not aggressive unless provoked.

Metric paper wasps feed on nectar and prey on other insects such as caterpillars, spiders, and ants.

These types of wasps in Wisconsin are important pollinators and help to control pest insect populations.

21. Northern Paper Wasp

Talking about the types of wasps in Wisconsin, this species is a common sight throughout the state. They are found nesting in trees, on the sides of houses, and even under eaves.

The wasps are reddish brown and have yellow bands across their abdomens. They usually build paper-like nests made out of chewed wood fiber and saliva. 

Northern Paper Wasps feed on nectar, small insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates.

They play an important role in Wisconsin’s ecosystem by helping to control pest populations and pollinate plants.

It is important to remember that these wasps can be aggressive and protective of their nests, so it is best to leave them alone and enjoy them from a distance.

22. Paper Wasp

Paper wasps are among the most commonly seen types of wasps in Wisconsin. They are medium-sized, with a narrow waist and long wings spanning up to 3 cm.

They build nests made of paper material, which can be found attached to tree branches, porch eaves, and other outdoor structures. 

Paper wasps typically live in colonies with a single queen and many workers. They feed on nectar and insects and are considered beneficial for controlling garden insect populations.

Paper wasps are black with yellow or orange stripes but can also have white markings. Their nests can be destroyed if they become a nuisance.

23. Potter Wasp

The Potter Wasp is a species of wasp found in Wisconsin, with members of this genus widely distributed in the United States.

These solitary wasps have thin bodies and vary in color from black to yellow-brown. Most commonly nest around man-made structures such as buildings, fences, and sheds. 

Potter Wasps, one of the types of wasps in Wisconsin, feed on nectar, plant sap, and small insects like caterpillars.

They construct their nests out of clay or mud and use saliva to bind the materials together. 

These nests typically consist of several cells with a larva inside each cell, which are built close to one another on a vertical surface.

Potter Wasps are important predators of insect pests, helping to control populations of these pests.

24. Red Paper Wasp

The Red Paper Wasp (Polistes spp.) is a species of paper wasps found in Wisconsin. The Red Paper Wasps are easily identifiable due to their bright red coloring.

They measure between 16-19 mm in length and have slender bodies with long legs. Their antennae have short hairs and a black line running down the center.

These wasps build their nests by forming a paperlike substance which they use to build their nests.

These wasps feed on insects, mainly aphids, caterpillars, and flies. They are types of wasps in Wisconsin that are solitary and prefer to remain near their nest sites. 

Although these wasps can sting if provoked, they are usually not aggressive and will fly away when disturbed.

They provide great pest control by preying on insects that could potentially damage crops or plants. They are a great asset to the Wisconsin ecosystem.

25. Ringed Paper Wasp

The Ringed Paper Wasp is a common type of wasp found in Wisconsin. These solitary wasps are typically small and have black bodies with yellow and red stripes.

Their wings are a dark brown color, with an amber-orange colored ring at the tips of their wings. 

They build their nests in sheltered areas, such as wood piles or eaves of buildings, and they use chewed wood pulp to construct their nests.

The female wasps are responsible for gathering the food, while the male wasps protect the nest from predators.

These wasps feed on nectar, pollen, and small insects and larvae. They are beneficial to humans because they control the populations of other insect pests.

26. Sand Wasp

The Sand Wasp, or Bembix spp., is a species of wasp commonly found in Wisconsin.

These wasps prefer sandy habitats, so you can find them in coastal areas, open fields, and even sandy riverbanks.

They range in size from 1/4 to 3/4 inch in length and usually have brown, yellow, and black stripes. 

The wings are transparent, and the abdomen is elongated and tapered. Their diet consists mainly of other insects, such as flies, crickets, and spiders.

They build nests in dry sand and use their stingers to paralyze their prey before dragging them back to their nest. 

To defend against predators, these types of wasps in Wisconsin will fly at them and attempt to sting. They are an important part of the ecosystem and provide natural pest control.

27. Scoliid Wasp

The Scoliid Wasp is a type of wasp commonly found in Wisconsin. This particular species can be identified by its black coloration with yellow stripes on the abdomen and wings with orange spots.

Scoliid wasps are solitary insects that usually make their nests in the ground. 

The female wasp lays eggs in a pre-made burrow and collects nectar and pollen to feed the larvae that hatch from the eggs.

The larvae then pupate underground and eventually emerge as adults in late summer.

Scoliid wasps play an important role in the environment, helping to keep other insect populations under control by preying on pests such as aphids and caterpillars.

28. Spider Wasp

The Spider Wasp (Auplopus mellipes) is a solitary wasp found in Wisconsin and throughout much of the eastern United States.

It has an unmistakable appearance, with a black and yellow pattern on its body and long antennae.

The Spider Wasp, also one of the many types of wasps in Wisconsin, has a short abdomen and short legs.

It is approximately 1/3 inch long and prefers to nest in wood or mud cells. The Spider Wasp is an important predator of spiders and other arthropods.

It will search for spider webs and then inject venom into the web-building spider, paralyzing it before carrying it off to use as food for its young.

Spider Wasps are also known to feed on caterpillars and other soft-bodied insects. They are beneficial to gardeners, helping to keep pest populations under control.

29. Spider Wasp

The spider wasp, also known as Priocnemis spp., is a type of wasp found in Wisconsin.

These small insects can be found in wooded and grassy areas, especially near where spiders and other prey may be found.

They usually have a dark coloration with yellow or orange markings on their bodies. 

Spider wasps are types of wasps in Wisconsin that feed on spiders, which they capture using their long stingers.

They often create nests in small crevices or cavities in the ground or in trees. Their nests contain several cells, each containing an egg, which will eventually hatch into a larva that feeds on the paralyzed spiders brought by its mother.

30. Squarehead Wasp

The Squarehead Wasp is a common wasp in Wisconsin and can be seen flying around flowers and other plants.

The adult wasps are about 1/4 inch long, with black and yellow stripes along their bodies. They have four legs, a pair of antennae, and two pairs of wings. 

Their head is square-shaped, with white and yellow markings on them. They feed on nectar from flowers and the sap of various trees and shrubs.

The female wasps construct mud nests where they lay their eggs, while the males guard the nest.

These wasps benefit gardens and farms since they feed on various pests and insects, making them beneficial predators.

31. Weevil Wasp

Weevil Wasps are parasitic types of wasps in Wisconsin. They are typically slender and black, with orange bands running along the abdomen.

They hunt weevils, which they paralyze and carry back to their burrows as food for their young. 

They are an important part of Wisconsin’s natural pest control system, as they can help keep weevils in check.

Weevil Wasps can be found in open areas, fields, and meadows and prefer sandy or clay soils.

They are active from mid-spring through early summer and can be spotted around flowering plants that attract their prey.


Wisconsin is home to many species of wasps, from the Hyperparasitic Wasp to the Cuckoo Wasp.

Each species plays an important role in their ecosystem, whether pollinating plants, controlling pest populations, or scavenging for food.

With the right knowledge and understanding, humans can safely coexist with these amazing creatures while enjoying Wisconsin’s natural beauty.

Wisconsin is home to a wide variety of wasp species, making it an interesting and exciting place to explore the natural world.

From social wasps that build large nests to solitary wasps that hunt for prey, there are many different types of wasps in Wisconsin, the Badger State. 

We explored some of Wisconsin‘s most common types of wasps, their habitats, behavior, and more.

Whether you’re looking to learn more about these fascinating creatures or want to appreciate them from a distance, this post has you covered!

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