With his body long and slender, the black wasp cannot be confused with the common wasp. In addition to her slim figure black, the species is distinguished by the method of construction of its nest. A technique that makes her an expert in masonry!
Black wasp, mason or sceliphron
The black wasp or mason wasp is also called sceliphron. It belongs to the order of Hymenoptera and to the family of Sphecidae. If there are thousands of endemic species in France, two were unintentionally introduced from America (scelipron caementarium) and Asia (scelipron curvatum), in the eighties.
A real hourglass figure
The species has a slimmer and more slender figure than the common wasp. His abdomen very characteristic tapers sharply at the level of the medial segment. Its head is extended by antennas curved at the end. The insect has a predominantly black body that may resemble a winged ant and some species also exhibit stripes yellow or orange. The sceliphron has three pairs of legs with colored bands.
The black wasp, an outstanding mason
The wasp is called mason because it builds its nest from mineral materials such as sand, clay or earth which it mixes with saliva. The swarm consists of an agglomerate of small cocoons very thin, measuring 2 to 3 cm and often taking the shape of an elongated oval. Many species will then block the entrance to the cell. Generally, the female can build up to ten nests before die.
The nest: inside or outside
To build her nest, the female seeks a location sheltered from predators, severe weather, the sun and, preferably, benefiting from a temperature constant. Both indoors and outdoors, the ideal place is usually in a crack in a wall, holes in a wall. ventilation, the framing of a door or a window, under tiles or a frame, in attics and attics. Some varieties of wasps build their nests directly in the ground or plant stems.
A pantry for the black wasp
The black wasp is particularly fond ofspiders but do not disdain caterpillars, flies or beetles. After catching them, she paralyzes them with venom freed from its stinger and brings them to its nest. She will then lay eggs in the cocoon and close the entrance. Paralyzed preys stay this way alive until the egg turns into a larva which will then find something to eat on the spot. Rich in protein, the insects will help the larva to develop into an adult.
The mason wasp, the lonely kind
Unlike common wasps, the species lives and works alone. If it can evolve into colonies, the nests remain independent, which means that each female is a Queen having the ability to reproduce. At first, the sceliphron is born in the form of a egg which then turns into a larva. Inside its cocoon, it will feed on the still living, but paralyzed insects that its mother has stored. A few weeks later, the larva molted into adult breaks the nest with its strong mandibles and the life cycle begins again.
The mason wasp, a harmless insect
The mason wasp does not represent danger for humans and very rarely stings it, even if it approaches very closely. On the other hand, it can defend itself in the event ofaggression, if someone tries to remove their nest, for example. The sting is more painful than with other wasps because of the larger size of its dart and the amount of venom contained. However, his defense technique will first be based on escape.
The black wasp, useful for the ecosystem
As seen previously, the black wasp is an insect solitary which builds its own nest and takes care of its larvae until they reach maturity. His offspring therefore depends entirely on his survival. To remove it would rhyme to condemn all of its spawning. In addition to being harmless, it contributes to the balance of theecosystem by regulating the number of insects it feeds on. The mason wasp also participates in the pollination flowers and fruit trees and as such, it is invaluable for our gardens.