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University of Minnesota Extension

Species detail

Sphecidae (Nest-building solitary wasps)



The family Sphecidae consists of many species of solitary nesting wasps. Some, such as Isodontia, have received their own page in the MN Bee Atlas. This page is a general description of the family and encompasses all un-identified Sphecids from our project.


Sphecid wasps are frequently all dark, with few markings on their bodies. They do not fold their wings at rest. They will be nearly hairless. Often they have a very square shaped head when seen face-on, have low set antennae and silvery “mustache” of hairs or yellow markings on their face. Many are quite small.

Nest Structure

Sphecids are solitary nesting wasps and stock their nests with paralyzed prey. Many sphecids store aphids in their nests as the food source for their young. They may collect hundreds of aphids per nests. Our sphecids use resin to seal their nests. They tend to use lighter resin. This is in comparison to one of our other major taxa that make resin plugs, the bee Heriades. Heriades so far appear to use both dark and light resins roughly equally. Both the wasps and Heriades may stick debris into their resin plugs. Resin plugs with a lot of debris can be confused with mud with a lot of debris.

Hole Sizes

These wasps are common in the Bee Atlas blocks. They primarily use holes in the 3rd column (the smallest holes) though we do get nests from the upper second column holes.


Univoltine-Multivoltine. They may have multiple generations per year

Activity Period

Summer into early fall.


No information at this time.

Minnesota Record Map

These data are from the Minnesota Bee Atlas project.

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