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Species guide - species detail

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Ancistrocerus sp. A (Potter wasp)



Ancistrocerus is a genus in the Vespidae family, in the sub family Eumeninae. Eumenids are solitary nest building wasps that stock their nests with many individuals of some species of leaf-eating arthropod prey (like caterpillars). As such, they can be helpful to gardeners. There are many species in North America. Ancistrocerus sp. A was formerly grouped as a subspecies of A. catskill, but is now considered to be a separate species.


Eumenid wasps have a stereotypical “wasp” look to them, but they are solitary and not aggressive like social wasps that are found in the family Vespidae. 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 sp. A is can be distinguished from closely related species by the presence of pale spots on tergum 6 and pale spots on the ventral half of the clypeus.

Nest Structure

Eumenids are solitary-nesters, each female builds her own nests. They 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

Early summer into early fall.


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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