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Beneficial Besties: Potter Wasps

Once you see their nests, it’s easy to understand why this wasp is named the Potter Wasp. They construct jug-like brood nests that resemble pots.  These small brood cells are made of mud and house the immature potter wasps. These solitary wasps emerge from the nest by chewing a round hole through the side, making the nest look even more like a jug or pot. The adults from fly from roughly June to October, feeding on flower nectar. 

More importantly, and making them a beneficial bestie, adult potter wasps prey on caterpillars, spiders, moth and beetles larvae. An adult wasp will lay a single egg in an empty brood cell and then set out to provision it for the larva. Potter wasps paralyze their prey, such as a caterpillar, and then place it in the cell. Once the egg hatches, it begins to feed for a few weeks before entering the pupa stage, eventually completing its life cycle over the course of a few weeks. 

So, if you see a potter wasp, take a moment to appreciate their role in fighting the caterpillars, moths and beetles that attack ornamentals in your landscape.