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Idaho State University

Wasps


Hymenoptera vary in the habitats used for resources. As adults, many species are predators, feed at flowers for pollen and nectar, or use a combination of these resources. During the larval stages, some species are parasites, or pests of plants.

There are a few species of ants (Formicidae) that are known to pollinate plants. Around the world there are ~ 20 spp. of ants known to aid in pollination. Some research has suggested that the antibacterial products produced by an ant colony for protection from microbes inhibits pollen germination on the stigma of a plant.

Adult sawflies (suborder Symphyta) of some species prey on other insects, while others use nectar, pollen, flower petals, or leaves as food; many are known to visit flowers of Asteraceae, Ranunculus, Salix, and Rubus. Adults of the family Tenthredinidae prey on insects visiting flowers and are known to pollinate those plants while hunting. Sawfly larvae feed on plants and adults often will visit the flowers of the larval host plants and are thought to be significant pollinators of these plants.

Tenthredinidae genera often found on flowering plants and their adult / larval food (click on names in table to view images if available):

FamilyGenusAdult foodLarval host plants

Tenthredinidae

  

Amauronematus

insects

unknown

Tenthredo Flower-visiting insects Many plants
Ametastegia   insects Rumex, Polygonum, Viola

Adult wasps in the families Sphecidae and Vespidae are usually predaceous, using most prey to provision the nests containing their offspring. As adults, they may use nectar and pollen for food and may sometimes pollinate as a result of their feeding. Masarinae, a subfamily of Vespidae, have been found to provision their nests with nectar and pollen from plants in the genera Phacelia, Hydrophyllum, and Eriodictyon. Adult Pompilidae visit flowers for nectar and provision their nests with spiders. Certain species within this family indirectly collect milkweed pollen on their spiny legs and may be important pollinators of those plants.

Wasp families and genera common on flowering plants and their sociality, nest sites, and prey items for offspring (click on insect names in table to view images if available):

FamilyGenusSocialityNest sitePrey

Sphecidae

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Podalonia

solitary

soil

Lepidoptera

Ammophila

solitary

soil

Lepidoptera, Hymenoptera

Prionyx

solitary

soil

Acrididae

Mimumesa

solitary

soil, wood

Delphachidae Cicadellidae

Pemphredon

solitary

plant stems, wood, pre-existing cavities

Aphididae

Diodontus

solitary

soil

Aphididae

Passaloecus

solitary

plant stems, wood, pre-existing cavities

Aphididae

Spilomena

solitary

plant stems, wood, pre-existing cavities

Thysanoptera,,Coccidae,Psyllidae

Trypoxylon

solitary

pre-existing cavities,mud nests

Araneae

Tachysphex

solitary

soil

Acrididae, Gryllidae

Solierella

solitary

pre-exisiting cavities

Hemiptera, Orthoptera

Belomicrus

solitary

soil

Coleoptera, Hemiptera

Oxybelus

solitary

soil

Diptera

Crabro

solitary

soil

Dolichopodidae, Ephydridae, muscoids

Crossocerus

solitary

soil, plant stems, pre-existing cavities

Diptera, Hemiptera, Trichoptera, microlepidoptera

Ectemnius

solitary

soil, plant stems, wood

Diptera

Alysson

solitary

soil

Hemiptera

Cerceris

solitary

soil

Coleoptera adults

Vespidae

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vespula

eusocial

soil, wood, aerial

Diptera, Lepidoptera larvae, Hemiptera

Dolichovespula

eusocial

soil, aerial

Orthoptera, Diptera, Hemiptera, Araneae, Neuroptera, carrion

Euodynerus

solitary

soil, mud nests, pre-existing cavities

Lepidoptera larvae

Odynerus

solitary

soil, pre-existing cavities

Coleoptera larvae

Pterocheilus

solitary

soil

Lepidoptera larvae

Stenodynerus        solitary pre-existing cavities            Lepidoptera larvae