The Australian Hornet (Eumenes latreilli), known commonly as the Potter Wasp or Mud Wasp is a boldly coloured wasp with vivid orange and black markings.

The alternate names of Potter Wasp, Mud Wasp, Mason Wasp, is due to the material they use to build their nests. They use available local mud, from the reddish brown to the sandy coloured soil. These wasps are not to be confused with the Mud Dauber, who also build their nests from mud.

The Australian Hornet are solitary insects, that belong to the vespid family Vespidae of insects that are native to Australia. This family of insects is said to number nearly 5,000 species, that include eusocial wasps as well as the many species of solitary wasps.

Found throughout Australia, and quite common in Central Australia, the Potter Wasp are usually found where there is access to water, including ponds and pools, especially as these provide a source of water, from which they mix with clay type sand to create a mud paste for making their nests and adding to existing mud nests.

The nests of the Potter Wasp are varied in size and shapes, subject to the different species of mud wasps. They are often built against the walls of buildings, along the mortar line of bricks, window frames, even a small nest can be built on a hook. Some species do build their nests on the ground.

Many Mud Wasps come back to the same nest year after year, adding more mud to the existing structure. Holes are created within the mud where they place their prey (usually a caterpillar) for the larvae to feed on. The hole is then sealed. The evidence of the larvae having pupated into the adult wasp and having left the nest is the exposed hole opening.

  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Hymenoptera
  • Family: Vespidae
  • Subfamily: Eumeninae
  • Genus: Eumenes
  • Species: E. latreilli
  • Binomial name: Eumenes latreilli

Footnote & References

  1. Orange Potter Wasp – Eumenes latreilli, Brisbane Insects and Spider,
  2. Potter Wasps, Australian Museum,
  3. Subfamily Eumeninae – Potter Wasps and Mud Nesting Wasps,
  4. Potter Wasps, Department of Primary Industries, NSW Government,