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Different Kinds of Wasps in South Carolina

| Updated September 26, 2017

Bees are a part of the hymenoptera order, which has approximately 18,000 known species in North America. Some wasps are seen in particular regions more than others. Some wasps are aggressive and will attack, unprovoked, while others stay to themselves. In South Carolina, you are likely to see numerous different species ranging in color, size and shape, such as the species procera, maculata and columba.


The bald-faced hornet is part of the maculata species and is a type of wasp in South Carolina. These wasps are relatives of the yellow jacket. This wasp is black and white with a chubby body. The queen wasp can grow from 0.70 inches to 0.79 inches long, while the worker wasp measures 0.47 inches to 0.59 inches long. Bald-faced hornets live in grayish hives.


South Carolina has the common thread waisted wasp flying around. A member of the procera species, this wasp gets its name from its slender waist. It measures 0.63 inches to 2.17 inches long. The adult wasps eat nectar from flowers, but female wasps may paralyze insects with its stinger and drag it to a hole for the larvae to eat. You can identify this wasp by it colors: black, yellow, red and orange.

Vespula Spp. Species

The yellow jacket belongs to the vespula spp. species and buzzes throughout South Carolina. It has large eyes, black wings and a yellow, white and black body. This wasp measures 0.47 inches to 0.63 inches long. This wasp does not need a reason to attack and will sting constantly. You can find yellow jackets on the outskirts of forests, and they usually build their hive close to the ground. Adults eat nectar for flowers and may chew insects for larvae.


The pigeon tremex is a wasp in South Carolina that belongs to the columba species. It is from 0.71 inches to 1.46 inches long. It has two short, stick-looking legs in the front and two stick-looking legs in the back. It is mostly black and brown with yellow bands on the abdomen.


You can find the ichneumon wasp, part of the macrurus species, in South Carolina. An ichneumon wasp measures 0.39 inches to 0.75 inches long. It has a thin waist and a long abdomen with a black and brown body with orange or yellow stripes. Females have a long, needle-like ovipositor that is similar to a syringe that injects eggs inside wood where the larvae eat off the insects.


The cicada killer wasp is a solitary wasp that belongs to speciosus species. It measures 1.18 inches to 1.97 inches long. Solitary wasps buid a nest only for themselves and their offspring. This type of wasp usually builds a nest below ground and comes above ground in summer. Sometimes cicada killer wasps make a nest in lawns that can become a problem. This type of wasp will trap cicadas while in the air, but they also eat nectar from flowers and plants.