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Species guide - species detail

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Dipogon sp. (Spider wasps)



Dipogon is a type of spider wasp belonging to the Pompilidae family in the Pepsinae subfamily. These wasps can be found in Europe, Asia, and North America. The name “Dipogon,” meaning “two beards,” originates from the distinctive long bristle tufts beneath the mandibles, which are utilized to transport materials for building nest cells and constructing the nest. The classification of this group of wasps at the subgenus level and below is challenging. Several species are seldom found, making it hard to understand the differences within and between them. Defining these species is tough due to the unclear geographic boundaries of certain types and subtypes. Though there are ~24 species found in Minnesota, we were not able to identify these specimens to species.


Dipogon wasps are some of the smallest Pompilids, ranging in size from 3mm-12mm. There are several ways to distinguish Dipogon wasps from other Pompilid species. The front wings have a cross-vein cu that extends well beyond the fork of vein M. The wings of Dipogon species have darkly clouded areas – usually two “stripes” across each wing. Both sexes in this group have smooth dorsal edges of their hind tibia – contrasted with other genera that have pits and bristles. Both male and female Dipogon wasps have mandibles with three teeth. The most identifying characteristic of female Dipogon specimens is the cardo of each maxilla bearing a group of long, curved bristles directed forward (resembling a curly beard).

Nest Structure

Dipogon wasps typically build their nests in abandoned insect burrows within decaying wood, although they may also utilize cavities in walls and rocks. In our case, they utilized the holes already available in the Minnesota Bee Atlas bee blocks. They construct multiple compartments within the nest using a combination of chewed wood and spider silk, and the entrance is sealed with the same materials. After finishing the nest, Dipogon wasps seal it shut and make it safe by creating a barrier using a combination of old spider webs, earth, and other materials gathered from nearby. The wasps smooth the seal with their abdomens, creating a felt-like covering to protect the nest.

Hole Sizes

No information at this time.


Many of the common species in Minnesota appear to be multivoltine. However, other species are less studied and may show different generational fecundity.

Activity Period

Dipogon wasps are active in Minnesota from May through September.


Krombein, K.V. 1979. Pompilidae, pp. 1533-1536. In: Krombein, K.V., P.D. Hurd, Jr., D.R. Smith, and B.D. Burks (Eds.), Catalog of Hymenoptera in America North of Mexico. Vol. 2 Apocrita (Aculeata). Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. (comprehensive species list, prey records, distribution). Lelej, A.S., and Loktionov, V.M. 2012. Phylogeny and Classification of the tribe Deuterageniini (Hymenoptera, Pompilidae: Pepsinae). Far Eastern Entomologist 25(4): 1-15. Townes, H.K. 1957. Nearctic wasps of the subfamilies Pepsinae and Ceropalinae. Bulletin of the United States National Museum 209: 1-286.

Minnesota Record Map

These data are from the Minnesota Bee Atlas project.

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