The four-toothed mason wasp (Monobia quadridens) is a member of the subfamily Eumeninae and is found throughout North America in the backyards of homes, dawdling near flowers. They belong to a species of solitary wasps that mostly function independently, and are known to be the look-alikes of the bald-faced hornet. Since adult mason wasps rely on nectar, they look for places with abundant sweet flowers, usually gardens and meadows with an abandoned nest created by a carpenter bee or tunnels made by a mud dauber. Mason wasps are greatly valued because of their role as pollinators. They also help with pest control because they hunt caterpillars.
Females don't protect their nests, so these can often be scraped off to reveal larvae. Males can be told apart from females in mason wasps by a white speck on males' faces, which is not as prominent as that on the bald-faced hornet.
The mason wasp has two generations in a year. The first generation is born from the wasp that mates and lays its eggs in spring, while the second generation is born from the wasp that lays its eggs in late summer. Most of the eggs from the second generation spend winter as larva in the nest created by their mothers and emerge in the next season.
If you are fascinated by this insect, read on to know more facts. If you want to learn more about different animals, you can read up on the paper wasp and cuckoo wasp too!
Four-Toothed Mason Wasp
What do they prey on?
What do they eat?
Average litter size?
How much do they weigh?
How long are they?
0.7 in (1.8 cm)
How tall are they?
What do they look like?
What are their main threats?
What is their conservation status?
Where you'll find them
Grassy meadows and woodlands
North America and Mexico
Four-Toothed Mason Wasp Interesting Facts
What type of animal is a four-toothed mason wasp?
They are wasps that are members of the subfamily Eumeninae under the Vespidae family.
What class of animal does a four-toothed mason wasp belong to?
They belong to the Insecta class under the Arthropoda phylum.
How many four-toothed mason wasps are there in the world?
While data regarding the total population of these wasps is not available, they are very commonly sighted in North America.
Where does a four-toothed mason wasp live?
They live throughout eastern North America in meadows, woodlands, and orchard fields. Their occurrences have been marked in southern Ontario to northern Mexico and throughout the Great Plains. They usually look for spaces such as hollow pipes and hollow tubes in plant stems, or they may choose to inhabit abandoned tunnels in window sills or aprons made of wood. This nesting site is generally created by a carpenter bee or mud dauber.
What is a four-toothed mason wasp's habitat?
They are initially sighted near the middle of March but are most populous from July to September. Like other wasps, they do not handle the extreme cold weather well because it slows them down. Therefore, these solitary species are usually seen on the nesting site in warm places with flowers for them to feed on.
Who do four-toothed mason wasps live with?
They are one of many solitary species in the entire family, Vespidae. Solitary species spend most of their lives without depending on others of their species or in very small groups.
How long does a four-toothed mason wasp live?
Female mason wasps live for about six weeks.
How do they reproduce?
Four-toothed mason wasps mate and lay eggs that hatch into larvae. They compartmentalize their nest, their reproduction site, and make mud chambers in them. These chambers are used for storing fertilized eggs by the female mason wasps. She then stores permanently paralyzed caterpillars in the chamber for the hatched larvae to feed on.
Male larvae hatch sooner than female ones, so male larvae are stored in the outer chambers while female ones are stored in the inner-most chambers. Then the larvae pupate, and after the completion of pupation, they burrow through the mud chamber walls and free themselves.
What is their conservation status?
Monobia quadridens is not listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List. However, in recent years the populations of various bees and wasps have been threatened due to climate change.
Four-Toothed Mason Wasp Fun Facts
What do four-toothed mason wasps look like?
Four-toothed mason wasps have shiny black hairless bodies with white bands and rings. They have an angled white band near their necks, one straight white band before their waist, and another somewhat thick white band after it. Their wings reflect hues of blue and purple and are lustrous too.
How cute are they?
They greatly benefit most gardens because they control the number of caterpillars that feed on your plants and act as great pollinators. So even though, they don't look particularly cute.
How do they communicate?
Most wasps and insects cannot communicate acoustically, so they rely on their sense of smell to communicate. They emit chemicals known as pheromones, which help them signal whether they belong to the same nest and to mark where their eggs are laid.
How big is a four-toothed mason wasp?
Four-toothed mason wasps are relatively larger than other insects, with their wingspan ranging almost 0.6-0.9 in (1.52-2.29 cm) and have a length of about 0.7 in (1.8 cm). Compared to mason bees, generally, the largest mason bees are smaller than the smallest mason wasps.
How fast can a four-toothed mason wasp fly?
The Vespidae family is fast and has great vision. This is why they can fly up to a speed of 20 mph (32.2 kph).
How much does a four-toothed mason wasp weigh?
Data regarding the specific weight of the four-toothed mason wasp is not available.
What are their male and female names of the species?
Male and female four-toothed wasps are referred to with the same names. Their scientific name is Monobia quadridens, but they are also generally called mason wasps.
What would you call a baby four-toothed mason wasp?
Four-toothed mason wasps' babies are called larvae. When a hatched larva pupates, they are called a pupa.
What do they eat?
Adult four-toothed mason wasps only consume nectar from flowers such as clustered mountain-mint, and devil's darning needles. However, the larva is carnivorous and consumes paralyzed caterpillars left in the nest by their mothers. These caterpillars can belong to Pyralidae, Crambidae, Elachistidae, Amphisbatidae, Gelechiidae, and Tortricidae groups.
Are they poisonous?
Yes, mason wasps are poisonous. Their stings are venomous like those of bald-faced hornets.
Would they make a good pet?
Since they can be a boon for your garden, they can be cultivated for pest control. However, they cannot be pets in a conventional sense.
Did you know...
Mason wasps are also called potter wasps because they use mud chambers in their nests, that are shaped like pottery.
It is also fascinating to note that they leave a chamber or two empty during reproduction so that they can fool predators.
Does a mason wasp sting?
Yes, mason wasps can sting, but they rarely do. A female mason wasp's stings, like those of bees or bald-faced hornets, are venomous and can cause pain. Since their stinger is not removed after a sting, they are capable of stinging multiple times, unlike bees.
Are four-toothed mason wasps aggressive?
Mason wasps, like hornets, are generally non-aggressive and do not sting unless they are extremely agitated or provoked.
At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.
We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it’s important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.
Kidadl provides inspiration to entertain and educate your children. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.
Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong.
Sponsorship & Advertising Policy
Kidadl is independent and to make our service free to you the reader we are supported by advertising.
We hope you love our recommendations for products and services! What we suggest is selected independently by the Kidadl team. If you purchase using the buy now button we may earn a small commission. This does not influence our choices. Please note: prices are correct and items are available at the time the article was published.
Kidadl has a number of affiliate partners that we work with including Amazon. Please note that Kidadl is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.
We also link to other websites, but are not responsible for their content.