The Potter wasps, once recognised as the family Eumeninae, but now a a subfamily of the family Vespidae, are a cosmopolitan wasp group with a number of variable species.

Most of the species of wasps in Eumeninae build mud nest. Typically black and yellow or black and orange in colours (see our Potter Wasp, Eumenes latreilli), these species are solitary wasps. The prey for the Potter wasps are usually caterpillars, which they paralyze and seal inside the mud nests, with their young. While their nests are usually constructed from mud within the area they live, some also are dug into the ground and in wood. They can be constructed in all sorts of location from exposed areas on rocks, sheltered areas, on the ground against the walls of houses, window edge, etc. Some species are also known to return to previous nests, and add to old mud nests. 

Many species of potter wasps have their own distinctive mud nests. Whilst the orange Potter Wasp, (Eumenes latreilli) whose nests tend to be an elongated oval shape (with a number of variations), there are other wasps whose nest have different shapes. Among this group of wasps there are some species that make smaller nest, with one species in particular that makes a nest shaped like an earthenware vase with a thin neck opening.

© Ausemade PL


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Hymenoptera
  • Superfamily: Vespoidea
  • Family: Vespidae
  • Subfamily: Eumeninae

Footnote & References

  1. Wasps, eWasp, https://ewasp.com.au/insects-and-arachnids/wasps/