Potter Wasps

By William T. Hathaway

Potter Wasps

The true wasp family (Vespidae) contains a listing of 415 species in the U.S. and Canada. We are familiar with most of the stinging members like hornets, bees, and wasps. It is interesting that certain wasps in the subfamily Eumeninae are called “potter wasps,” since they make their nests of mud, resembling earthenware pots.

Potter wasps feed their larvae caterpillars, and ecologists consider these wasps beneficial to man. The wasp in my photo isn't a potter wasp as a certainty. I included this closely related wasp along with the pictured pot which I found affixed to the rock wall in a quarry. In some cases, our enthusiasm for interesting facts in nature is often more curiosity than adhering to scientific fact.


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