Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
6 spp. in 2 subgenera in our area(1)
, >60 spp. worldwide(2)
Medium-sized dark sphecids, often seen carrying grass to nests.
Hairs on thorax golden
I. elegans - petiole black, legs red, abdomen often red-marked (variable from entirely red to almost entirely black), wings light and often with orange tint
I. exornata - petiole red, legs red, abdomen black, wings dark with some blue reflections
Hairs on thorax pale
I. apicalis - body entirely black, head of female blocky behind eyes, wings always dark and typically with blue reflections
I. mexicana - body black with occasional brown spot on T1, head of female short behind eyes, wings hyaline to dark with blue reflections
Hairs on thorax black
I. apuripes - body black, legs brownish-red, wings dark with strong blue reflections
I. philadelphica - body entirely black, wings dark with strong blue reflections
Open areas, fields, grass
Adults take nectar. Larvae are fed Gryllidae (particularly tree crickets) or other Orthoptera.(5)
Females make nests in a tree, hollow stem or other cavity, divide into sections and close with grass. They provision with Orthoptera (Tettigoniidae
). Can be two generations per year (I. mexicana
1. Larva 2. Cocoon and food remnants in hollow stem 3. Adult female 4. Adult male. 5. Parasitic fly's puparia.
grass-carrying habits, nest(6)
; nesting behavior of I. harrisi(7)
Adults emerge in early summer. Female collects blades of grass and grass and hay stems to line the nest cavity. The nest is stocked with tree crickets (Oecanthus
spp.) The larvae reach the appropriate size in 4–6 days at 70–75°F and pupate. The adults emerge in 2–3 weeks. In Pennsylvania, I. mexicana
typically produce two generations a year. (Jacobs 2014
These wasps commonly make their nest in the narrow track found above outer windows.