Have You Ever Seen a Wasp so HUGE?

by Cynthia mybloggingplanet.com

Large Orange Wasp

(All photos can be clicked on to view full size.)

A rather scary looking creature with wings is completely and totally in love with my flowering orange mint these days. It has everyone on edge and afraid to approach this pretty plant. I have not a clue what type of wasp he might be and a Google search has not led to many leads.  Perhaps he is a Potter Wasp? He is rather skittish and flies away quickly if anyone gets close (another reason he has everyone frightened).

Large Orange Wasp

In the picture below you can see a bumblebee to the left and the wasp to the right. Note how much larger he is in comparison to the bumblebee which is normally the largest winged insect visiting this garden.

Large Orange Wasp

I hope some readers out there might be able to help me in identifying this big orange wasp. He appears to be about 2 inches long (?!). Yikes. The curious thing about him is I am only finding him on my orange mint. He is visiting no other flower in the garden which I find rather interesting.

Large Orange Wasp

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

the inadvertent farmer August 25, 2009 at 1:29 pm

I have never seen a wasp like that…it is HUGE. I can completely understand why people are slightly afraid of the big guy! I hope you find out what it is and let us know, Kim


Becca August 25, 2009 at 6:14 pm

Wow! That is one wild looking critter! It reminds me a bit of a Velvet Ant–which is a type of wingless wasp. Glad it’s not bothering anyone!


Bonnie Story August 25, 2009 at 7:04 pm

That is one big bug… yowza! I’m eager to hear what others (much more knowledgeable that I) suggest as to what in the wide wide world of sports that is! Great colors, coral snake colors that say “don’t mess with me!” The top photo is just incredible. Good job!


Toni (WyomingMom) August 25, 2009 at 9:07 pm

Oh my gosh!


Faith August 26, 2009 at 3:43 am

The flowers are gorgeous, but that wasp….. heebie-jeebie worthy.

I had one that big in my hair a couple of nights ago, though different type. An inch and a half long, but they were buzzing around my porch light. I don’t recall seeing them here before.



Daphne August 26, 2009 at 8:53 am

He is a great golden digger. I had them last year on my oregano flowers. Sadly they didn’t come back this year. BTW they tend to be gentle wasps and not prone to stinging.


Cool Garden Things August 26, 2009 at 10:16 am

Ahgh! Seriously…that is just too frightening! My luck would have it that I get stung by something like that now that I have seen it here!


Miss Daisy August 26, 2009 at 11:56 am

OMG, that IS huge! I hate wasps…I got stung on the lip when I was young and my mouth blew up like a huge balloon! Since then, I’ve been terrified of them! Your blooms look beautiful.


Grace August 26, 2009 at 1:16 pm

Uh, yeah, Cynthia. I don’t do bugs over a half-inch in size. Only the little, sweet ones are allowed in my garden. :] My suggestion: contact OSU Extension Service in your county. They have access to OSU entomologists who will identify your wasp. They may even ask you to capture it for them. In May I was perplexed as to the identity of the tiny weevil munching on my hollyhock leaves. I received a prompt and friendly email solving my mystery. A simple Google should lead the way. –Just my two bits.


Cynthia August 26, 2009 at 3:08 pm

Thanks to everyone for all your great comments! The pictures do not do this big wasp justice when it comes to its size.

Thanks a bunch to Daphne for identifying this incredibly large wasp for me. I did a few searches and I agree that it does seem to be a Great Golden Digger Wasp. It is a rather interesting wasp too. It seems it preys on crickets and digs solitary holes for itself. This link I found has some pretty amazing pictures and its description fits my wasp perfectly!

I’m glad to read that they are not very aggressive towards humans but I still think we will be respecting its space. I also still find it funny that it is only visiting my flowering orange mint. Must be some tasty nectar there! :)


Patsi August 27, 2009 at 5:37 am

Huge bee !!
Try “gardenweb” for a ID.
Are those beebalms ? Nice full plants.
Mine don’t want to flower anymore.


Karen September 14, 2009 at 8:06 pm

I love this site but can’t visit too often, or I get nightmares!


If you look up Orange Potter Wasp there are some pics that seem to look like your critter. Funny that it only likes the orange mint!


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