Wasp season is almost over (Northern Hemisphere)

Inspired by this post Mothing season is almost over, what were your best finds, stories, cool species this year? - Nature Talk - iNaturalist Community Forum

and a bit of a follow up to this post Bee and wasp updates, notes, or goals for Spring 2022 - General - iNaturalist Community Forum

Since the beginning of October, temperatures have dropped 20-30 degrees in New Mexico and there’s a definite slowdown in Hymenoptera activity. While it’s sad that the adults of this year will die soon, the larvae are just starting their life cycles in nests.

Fun stories: The day that half a dozen Colletes bees decided to lick my skin https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/133954721
Statistics: Increasing my yard list to 88 bees and overall seeing about 200 Hymenoptera species in New Mexico this year
Accomplishments: Tentative first iNat records of Triepeolus denverensis, Crematogaster hespera, Ammophila californica, Melissodes perpolitus, and Aerophilus nigripes

Photo: Bembix (cf occidentalis), one of my lifer wasps this year


I don’t devote a ton of time to looking for wasps (I’d like to, just not enough hours in the day), but did manage to capture the first known photographs of Xanthoteras radicola


After years of iNatting I got normal pics of 2 Chrysidids and both went to species! They’re usually so fast, too many seen but not shot.
Thanks to iders also got 5 Crabronids ided to species, which is much better than average.
Also some new vespids and bees too. Noticed I pretty much ignored ants the whole year.
I got licked this year by a wasp and bumblebee decided to lick between my fingers and I told her she’s a weird bee to do that. Also saw males Colletes harassing females non stop.
I’m sure not everything idable is ided though, not enough experts in that field.


By no means an uncommon species, but I was stoked to see a bit of the courtship between this male and female Eastern Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla occidentalis).


Hymenoptera stats over the last 30 days:

  • 114,379 observations newly added
  • 82,379 observations newly became Research Grade (a major review of observations, some which received first identifications 4+ years ago and now became RG - thanks to all who helped over time)

Current to-date stats:

  • 3,899,534 total observations, 48% Research Grade (53% for North America alone)
  • Research Grade hymenopteran species richness of 10,833 (4,250 for North America alone)
  • ~613 (recorded) first iNat bee or wasp records (project), including a potter wasp thought extinct for 100+ years, Leptochilus quintus
  • ~59 (recorded) new bee or wasp locality records among all sources (project)
  • Eligible new records have also been added to the first photographs of living specimens project

Wasp figures:


The skew towards Vespids is interesting. I suppose they commonly build nests on human structures and are large and brightly colored wasps.

Thanks for sharing the graphs!

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Yeah, I was surprised to see over 900 vespid species/taxa have attained RG status globally and over 300 in North America. Vespids seem to be one of the most popular groups and are more speciose than some other families. I also considered showing their data by subfamily Eumeninae, Polistinae, and Vespinae, since each have about as many observations as entire families like Sphecidae and Crabronidae.

Additional iNat stats for bees (last calculated 9/22/22):


  • Observations: 1,648,626
  • RG observations: 886,221 (54% of observations)
  • Number of RG species/taxa: 2,816


  • Observations: 906,338
  • RG observations: 550,061 (61%; some individual states have 70% or greater)
  • Number of RG species/taxa: 882

So, roughly 1/4 of known US bee species … not bad!

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As with most things here, few of my wasp observations got to species, but I am incredibly grateful to those who brought them closer.

New to me: I saw my first Anomalon and Torymidae, two of each.

Also new: a Dirhinus.

Most glam:

But my favorite is this one who wins for Most bamboozlement along the way.


I hope you’ll submit this to bugguide as well, which lacks any pictures (gall or adult) of that species

I will add that to my bucket list, I have photos of the galls too.

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2022 Hymenoptera observations by us: 452 observations, 74 species–of which 181 observations and 36 species have gone to RG. 3 of these are threatened species: 4 observations of Bombus affinis, 1 Bombus fervidus, 1 Bombus pensylvanicus.

The hardest to photograph were Anthidium oblongatum
Infrequently reported included Dufourea monardae
Of those needing ID, nearly 10% are Melissodes
Most recent lifer was this week Tremex columba:

It has already gotten cold (22F, -6C) and so activity is down 99% and the season will conclude within days or a week probably.
Our most commonly reported was Bombus griseocollis (46)


Don’t sell yourself short - Bombus affinis is federally endangered.

That’s a gorgeous Tremex, thanks for sharing!


I’m kinda surprised Cynipidae didn’t make the graph. Unlike other wasps, they hold still for pictures.

I considered adding more families but the figures became hard to read. I started with aculeate wasps and then added a few more families. Aculeate wasps also do seem to be the most observed and identified overall, so maybe are also the most abundant or encountered in urban and suburban areas.

Checking now, Cynipidae has 155,239 observations, 114,959 RG observations, and 545 RG species.

That ratio for Ichneumonidae… It’s a hard life ID-ing those :p

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Just started using inat this year so I don’t have a lot of bee/wasp observations, but my favorite so far is this one of a paper wasp (likely a dark paper wasp) that was hanging out on my window last week due to the cold.

Also just wanted to quickly say y’all are so hard-working and do an amazing job getting all of the thousands of bee and wasp photos IDed. Really excited for the 2023 season! :-)


You all just need to pop down to Australia, wasp season is getting right into the swing of things :)

My story is that I have recently moved from close to the most Southern point of Australia to near-ish to the top and I’m enjoying a whole different diversity of wasps, particularly noting the increase in Vespidae, but the good kind rather than pest kind. I am sad that I might not see any/many Labeninae here, but looking forward to hopefully spotting a Brachycyrtine sometime.

Everything is bigger up here, including the wasps



My ‘bee RG %’ is equivalent to the global level and within a percent of the overall Hymenoptera number. Funny how statistics work… Both groups are statistically significantly better than my observations as a whole. Thanks again for all your IDs, Brian!

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Scoliidae and Mutillidae are actually ahead of Vespidae for percent RG.

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