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University of Minnesota Extension

Species guide - species detail

Ancistrocerus albolacteus (Potter wasp)


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This species of wasp is in the family Vespidae, sub family Eumeninae. Eumenid wasps are solitary nest building wasps that stock their nests with leaf-eating arthropod prey like caterpillars. As such, they can be helpful to gardeners as pest control. There are many species in North America. We had one Ancistrocerus albolacteus in the Bee Atlas project.


Eumenid wasps have a stereotypical “wasp” look to them but they are solitary and not aggressive like yellowjacket wasps and paper wasps that you may be more familiar with. They are generally black with yellow bands and markings. At rest, their wings fold longitudinally and may appear very thin. They range in size from very small to medium. Ancistrocerus albolacteus are medium sized black wasps with ivory or yellow bands and markings. They look very similar to A. adiabatus, and are often considered to be a subspecies.

Nest Structure

Eumenids are solitary-nesters; each female builds her own nest. Eumenid wasps typically use mud or agglutinated sand to build their nest cells and nest plugs. Frequently plugs have a smooth outer surface. This is in contrast to the bee Osmia lignaria that also uses mud, but tends to have chunkier rougher looking nest plugs. Eumenids stock their nests with paralyzed prey, as is typical of solitary nesting wasps. Prey choices include caterpillars, beetle and moth larvae, including leaf mining beetles and moths and garden or crop pests.

Hole Sizes

No information at this time.


Possibly multivoltine. Eumenids can have 2 generations per year in Minnesota.

Activity Period

No information at this time.


Buck, Matthias. 2008. Identification Atlas of the Vespidae (Hymenoptera, Aculeata) of the northeastern Nearctic region. Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification. Accessed from

Minnesota Record Map

These data are from the Minnesota Bee Atlas project.

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