Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Upcoming Events

National Moth Week photos of insects and people. Here's how to add your images.

Photos of insects and people from the 2019 BugGuide Gathering in Louisiana, July 25-27

Discussion, insects and people from the 2018 gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Photos of insects and people from the 2012 gathering in Alabama

Photos of insects and people from the 2011 gathering in Iowa


Genus Isodontia - Grass-carrying Wasps

Wasp - Isodontia elegans Is this Isodontia elegans? (Example 2) - Isodontia elegans Black Wasp with blue wings and brown lower legs and narrow waist - Isodontia auripes Apoidea, Q7 ID please - Isodontia auripes Wasp - Isodontia mexicana thread-waisted wasp on crepe myrtle - Isodontia weird bug carrying another weird bug - Isodontia - female Small wasp with white eyes.  May or may not be complete.  Found dead on trash container. - Isodontia
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies)
No Taxon (Aculeata - Ants, Bees and Stinging Wasps)
No Taxon (Apoid Wasps (Apoidea)- traditional Sphecidae)
Family Sphecidae (Thread-waisted Wasps)
Subfamily Sphecinae
Tribe Sphecini
Genus Isodontia (Grass-carrying Wasps)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Isodontia Patton 1880
6 spp. in 2 subgenera in our area(1), >60 spp. worldwide(2)
Medium-sized dark sphecids, often seen carrying grass to nests. C. auripes is distinctive (?) with its brown legs.
widely dist.(3)
Open areas, fields, grass
in NC: I. auripes Jun-Oct, I. azteca May-Oct(4); Jul-Aug in MI(5)
Adults take nectar. Larvae are fed Gryllidae (particularly tree crickets) or other Orthoptera.(6)
Life Cycle
Females make nests in a tree, hollow stem or other cavity, divide into sections and close with grass. They provision with Orthoptera (Tettigoniidae, Gryllidae). Can be two generations per year (I. mexicana in PA)
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(7); nesting behavior of I. harrisi(8)

Taken from the Internet Reference below (Penn State): The adult wasps emerge from their cocoons in early summer, mate, and the females locate a suitable nest site. She collects blades of grass and grass and hay stems to line the nest cavity. The wasp can be seen flying through the air with the blades trailing beneath her. She lands at the hole and enters, pulling the blade in behind her. After the nest is prepared, she hunts for tree crickets (i.e., Oecanthus sp.), captures and paralyses them with her sting, and transports them to the nest. She deposits eggs in the nest and the emerging larvae will feed on the living, but immobile crickets. When the larvae reach the appropriate size (in 4–6 days at 70–75° F.), they spin a cocoon and pupate. The adult wasps emerge in 2–3 weeks. In Pennsylvania, Isodontia mexicana typically produce two generations per year.
These wasps commonly make their nest in the narrow track found above outer windows.
Internet References
I. mexicana fact sheet. Penn State U.
Dick Walton Natural History Services. Video of nesting behavior and parasites.
Works Cited
1.American Insects: A Handbook of the Insects of America North of Mexico
Ross H. Arnett. 2000. CRC Press.
2.Catalog of Sphecidae sensu lato
3.Ascher J.S., Pickering J. (2017) Discover Life bee species guide and world checklist (Hymenoptera: Apoidea: Anthophila)
4.Insects of North Carolina
C.S. Brimley. 1938. North Carolina Department of Agriculture.
5.The Sphecid Wasps of Michigan (Hymenoptera: Sphecidae: Sphecinae), by M.F. O'Brien
6.Solitary Wasps: Behavior and Natural History (Cornell Series in Arthropod Biology)
Kevin M. O'Neill. 2000. Comstock Publishing.
7.The Wasps
Howard Ensign Evans, Mary Jane West Eberhard. 1970. University of Michigan Press.
8.Wasp Farm
Howard Ensign Evans. 1963. Comstock Publishing.