Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Possible Spider Wasps


Small Wasp
Small Wasp  

"Ant" wasp
"Ant" wasp  
A question from Voorheesville, NY - just southwest of Albany...

We have recently built a home and they brought in very sandy fill.  I have been able to get grass to grow on it, but there are some patches.  In those patches, I have noticed some small holes, maybe about 2 mm in diameter.  During the day, there appear to be small, winged ants in that area.  Some are tiny and just buzz around, others are larger and enter the holes.  After some investigation, I think they may be some variety of spider wasps.  The field we built our home in used to be home to MANY wolf spiders.  I'm attaching two images.  Can you let me know if this is what they are and if they are of any concern?  We do need to mow and occasionally walk across the area where they've taken up residence.  

In other somewhat related stories, we've found quite the population of Cicada Killer Wasps in another area of our lawn.  We know they're non-aggressive (for the most part), just huge and intimidating.

Thanks for your input!


Wow, you may have stumped me with the "Ant" wasp.  It is indeed a wasp, quite possibly a spider wasp (Pompilidae), but I'm not positive.  Any chance you can get more images?  If so, then you can contact me directly:


The "small wasp" is a square-headed wasp, either Crabro or Lestica for the genus if it is nesting in the soil.  Otherwise, it could be Ectemnius , which nests in hollow twigs, beetle borings, or other pre-existing cavities.

None are anything to worry about.  I wouldn't go barefoot, maybe, but their activities should be over shortly anyway.

Thanks for sharing, I enjoy the mysteries!


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Eric R. Eaton


I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.


Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

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One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.

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Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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