- Size: About 1.2 to 2 cm long
- Color: Mainly black
- Distinctive Feature: Less colorful than other wasps, sometimes with white markings
- Habitat: Nests in the ground or in hollow structures
Black wasps are distinguished by their primarily black color, with less pronounced markings than those of other wasp species. They have wings that are slightly tinted blue or violet depending on the light. Their body is elongated and less bulky compared to other varieties of wasps. The size of the black wasp typically varies between 20 and 35 millimeters. They have a segmented body structure typical of wasps, with a marked waist and clearly visible antennae. Their legs are thin and elongated, often dangling during flight.
A distinctive trait of the black wasp is the low presence or total absence of yellow on their abdomen, differentiating them from more common wasps like the yellow jacket or paper wasp. Moreover, they often have a more “smooth” appearance due to less hair.
Behavior of the Black Wasp
Black wasps generally build their nests in sheltered places like under roofs, in tree hollows, or sometimes in the ground. Their nest is typically spherical or oval-shaped, made from chewed wood fibers.
These insects are primarily carnivorous during the larval phase, feeding on insects and spiders. In adulthood, their diet becomes more varied, including nectar, fruits, and sometimes even human waste.
Social Behavior and Interaction
While some species of black wasps can be social, many are solitary. Social wasps have a colony structure similar to bees, with a queen, workers, and males. Solitary wasps, on the other hand, do not form large colonies and live more independently.
Distinguishing Black Wasps from Other Insects
The common wasp is distinguished from the black wasp by its bright colors, with well-defined yellow and black bands on the abdomen. It is also smaller in size, measuring about 12 to 17 mm. The black wasp, on the other hand, has a mainly black body with very little or no yellow and wings that are slightly tinted blue or violet.
Carpenter ants can be confused with wasps due to their size and dark coloration. However, ants have a very pronounced thin waist (the “wasp waist”), elbowed antennae, and do not have wings, except during their reproductive phase. Black wasps, in contrast, have permanently visible wings and straight antennae.
Hornets, particularly the European hornet, are significantly larger than black wasps, measuring up to 35 mm. They have a robust body with reddish and yellow coloring. The black wasp is smaller, mainly black, and has a more slender appearance compared to the hornet.
Bumblebees are easily distinguishable from black wasps by their hairy bodies and characteristic buzzing flight. Bumblebees tend to be rounder and fluffier, with color bands varying according to the species. The black wasp, in comparison, has a less hairy and smoother body, and is generally quieter in flight.