Shrub Steppe - Eastern Washington State

Podalonia thread-waisted wasp

Eastern Washington

 

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Eastern Washington Map of Wildlife and Recreation Areas

Related information
Genus Podalonia - BugGuide

Related books
National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects and Spiders
Solitary Wasps: Behavior and Natural History

Supplies & Services
BioQuip - Entomology Equipment, Supplies and Books
Entomo-Logic - Pollinators & Entomology Services

 

Podalonia Thread-waisted wasp  femaleAs pollinators and cutworm predators, Podalonia thread-waisted wasps are beneficial to gardeners and farmers. The appearance of male and female Podalonia thread-waisted wasps vary, with males resembling small Ammophila thread-waisted wasps and the females resembling any number of black wasps.

This solitary wasp hunts cutworms and has evolved into a design that works for carrying big payloads to feed its offspring. The female Podalonia stings its prey to paralyze it, so the food stays fresh but unable crawl away. The wasp will fly its immobilized prey to a hiding spot, like on a nearby leaf, then dig a burrow, get the cutworm and stuff it down, lay an egg on it and cover the hole. Its offspring hatches, consumes its host for weeks before gorging and killing it, and pupates underground before emerging in summer as an adult.

Adult wasps feed on flower nectar. The pictured wasp was roughly 1.5 inches long and was found feeding on the nectar of rabbitbrush flowers.

» Other Eastern Washington Wasps

 

Podalonia Thread-waisted wasp male awaiting an emergent female
Podalonia Thread-waisted Wasp male awaiting an emergent female

 

Female Podalonia thread-waisted wasp excavating a ground nest
Podalonia Thread-waisted wasp female excavating a ground nest

 

Picture of a Podalonia thread-waisted wasp nectaring on rabbitbrush flowers
Podalonia Thread-waisted Wasp nectaring on grey rabbitbrush
Compare to Ammophila Thread-waisted wasp



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