Beginners bees & wasps: Mellinus arvensis - field digger-wasp

Mellinus arvensis - field digger-wasp

One of the commonest and most widespread solitary wasp species in Britain and Ireland. The wasp flies late in the year, and is active from late July to October in sandy places (such as heaths, dunes, waste places and even gardens). The wasp hunts for a range of large flies for stocking the larval brood cells.

Key features

  • Long and thin species, boldly marked with black and yellow
  • Thorax with yellow strip across front and a yellow spot at the rear
  • Two bold yellow bars across middle of abdomen
  • Flies in late summer and early autumn.
  • Nests in sandy soil, often in aggregations
  • Males much smaller and often feed on honeydew on leaves
  • Catches a wide range of flies as prey for its larvae


Similar species

Many yellow and black solitary wasps are superficially similar, so do check all the features noted above.


More information on Mellinus arvensis

Photo by (c) Josef Dvorak for BWARS

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