Minnesota Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies

Order Hymenoptera

Hymenoptera (ants, bees, wasps and sawflies) is the order of insects that is characterized by having two pairs of membranous wings and an ovipositor specialized for stinging or piercing. The order includes ants, bees, wasps, hornets, sawflies, and horntails.

There are about 125,000 known species worldwide, about 18,000 species in more than 2,000 genera in North America north of Mexico.

black and yellow mud dauber



Recent Additions
Elm leafminer

Elm leafminer (Fenusa ulmi) is a very small common sawfly. It is native to eastern Europe and Scandinavia. It was brought to North America most likely on imported elms. It now occurs in the United States from New England to the upper Midwest, in the Pacific Northwest, and in southeast Canada. Based on the scarcity of reports, it is still relatively uncommon in Minnesota. Adults are small and dark colored.

Due to the small size of the adult, elm leafminer is most often identified by the damage the larva causes to its host plant. Mines are seen from mid-May to early June on American elm and slippery elm. The larva feeds between the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf. It creates a serpentine mine at first. That soon develops into a small blotch between two lateral veins, later into a large blotch on one side if the midrib. The mines are clear and the flattened, whitish-green or yellowish-white larva can be seen when viewing the upper side of the leaf. The infected part of the leaf turns brown and eventually falls off. A heavy infestation may cause the entire tree to defoliate, but the infected tree flushes again and survives.

  elm leafminer
Black-and-gold bumble bee

Black-and-gold bumble bee (Bombus auricomus) is common, large, colonial bumble bee. It occurs in North America east of the Rocky mountains. It is common in southern Minnesota, less common in the north. It is one of the largest bumble bees in Minnesota. Females (worker bees) are up to ¾ long. It is found in grasslands and open areas. It lives in small colonies of about 35 workers.

Black-and-gold bumble bee is identified by its large size; there is a patch of yellow hairs on the back of the head; the thorax that is yellow on the front third, black on the rear two thirds, and has a very narrow yellow band at the rear; and the abdomen is black except for the entirely yellow second and third segments.

  black-and-gold bumble bee
  Photo by Gerry Garcia
Nomad bee (Nomada sp.)

There are more than 850 species of nomad bee (Nomada sp.) worldwide, more than 280 species in North America. Like other cuckoo bees (subfamily Nomadinae), nomad bees do not construct nests, but lay their eggs in the nests of ground-nesting bees. One to four eggs are laid in the cell wall of the host nest. The larvae have large, outward-facing, scissor-like mandibles. The first larva to emerge destroys all the other eggs, both those of the host and those of its own siblings. It consumes the pollen provisioned by its host, and emerges as an adult the same time as the host adults emerge.

Nomad bees are usually black, black and red, or entirely red, with yellow, white, and/or red markings. Many species have red legs. The genus Nomada includes the only bees in North America that are entirely red. They have short, thin, and inconspicuous hairs on the body and no pollen-collecting hairs (scopa) on the hind legs. They look more like wasps than a bees.

  nomad bee (Nomada sp.)
  Photo by Alfredo Colon
Downy yellowjacket

Downy yellowjacket (Vespula flavopilosa) is an uncommon, medium-sized, predatory, social wasp. It is found in the northeastern United States from Minnesota to Maine, south to Virginia, and along the Appalachian mountains to northern Georgia. It closely resembles eastern yellowjacket. It is thought by some to be a hybrid between eastern and common yellowjackets. Others suggest that it probably arose as a hybrid but now queens mate with drones of the same species.

The overwintering queen emerges from hibernation in April or May. She builds a nest of 20 to 45 cells and cares for the grubs as they hatch. In about 30 days the workers emerge and take over nest building duties. Through spring and summer the queen produces a large number of worker wasps. In mid-summer, the nest grows exponentially, as more and more workers become available, ultimately with 3,500 to 15,000 cells. Only the new queens survive the winter, hibernating under loose tree bark, in a decaying stump, or in another sheltered location.

In eastern North America, four yellowjacket species, common, downy, eastern, and German yellowjackets, closely resemble each other, making identification difficult. Downy yellowjacket is distinguished from the others by a continuous, uninterrupted yellow band on the face below the compound eye; and by the shape and pattern of black markings on the first and second abdominal segments.

  downy yellowjacket
  Photo by Bill Reynolds
Two-spotted bumble bee

Two-spotted bumble bee (Bombus bimaculatus) is small, colonial bumble bee. It is common in eastern North America and in Minnesota. It emerges very early in the spring and is active until mid-summer.

Two-spotted bumble bee usually nests underground but sometimes in the cavity of a dead tree. Like other bumble bees, it will sting to protect itself or its nest. The stinger is not barbed and the bee can sting multiple times. It feeds on the pollen and nectar of flowers. It has a very long tongue that allows it to feed on nectar of plants with long corolla tubes.

Two-spotted bumble bee is identified by the thorax which is yellow except for a small, round, black spot in the middle; the first abdominal segment is entirely yellow, the second has a broad, yellow, W-shaped spot in the middle, and the remaining (on the female) are all black; and the hairs on the back of the head are yellow.

  two-spotted bumble bee
  Photo by Christa Rittberg
Other Recent Additions

oak gall wasp (Amphibolips cookii)

larger empty oak apple wasp (Amphibolips quercusinanis)

roseslug (Endelomyia aethiops)

pigeon tremex (Tremex columba)

Allegheny mound ant (Formica exsectoides)

great golden digger wasp (Sphex ichneumoneus)

  great golden digger wasp
  Photo by Norm & Peg Dibble









This list includes only ants, bees, wasps and sawflies that have been recorded in Minnesota, but not all of the ants, bees, wasps and sawflies found in Minnesota.

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acorn plum gall wasp (Amphibolips quercusjuglans)


acorn plum gall wasp

alfalfa leafcutting bee

Allegheny mound ant

ant (Family Formicidae)

bald-faced hornet

bicolored striped sweat bee

black and yellow mud dauber

black-and-gold bumble bee

braconid wasp (Atanycolus sp.)

broad-handed leafcutting bee

brown-belted bumble bee

common eastern bumble bee

common sawfly (Family Tenthredinidae)

common sawfly (Macrophya epinota)

common sawfly (Macrophya pulchella)

common sawfly (Macrophya sp.)

common sawfly (Macrophya trisyllaba)


cuckoo wasp (Subfamily Chrysidinae)

curled rose sawfly

digger bee (Anthophora terminalis)

dogwood sawfly

downy yellowjacket

eastern yellowjacket

eight-toothed cuckoo leaf-cutter bee

elm leafminer

elm sawfly

fraternal potter wasp

German yellowjacket

grass-carrying wasp (mexicana)

great black wasp

great golden digger wasp

half-black bumble bee

ichneumon wasp (Aritranis director)

Ichneumon Wasp (Cosmoconus sp.)

ichneumon wasp (Cratichneumon spp.)

ichneumon wasp (Family Ichneumonidae)

ichneumon wasp (Lissonota sp.)

ichneumon wasp (Ophionellus sp.)

ichneumon wasp (Therion sp.)

larger empty oak apple wasp

leaf-cutter bee (Megachile sp.)

lemon cuckoo bumble bee

metallic bluish-green cuckoo wasp

New York carpenter ant

nomad bee (Nomada sp.)

northern amber bumble bee

northern paper wasp

oak flake gall wasp

oak gall wasp (Amphibolips cookii)

oak rough bulletgall wasp

pelecinid wasp

pigeon tremex

podzol mound ant

potter wasp (Eumeninae)

pure green augochlora

pyramid ant

red-belted bumble bee


sand-loving wasp (Tachytes distinctus)

silky agapostemon

somewhat silky mound ant

spider wasp (Caliadurgus fasciatellus)

spider wasp (Pompilidae)

spiny rose stem gall wasp

spongy oak apple gall wasp

square-headed wasp

sweat bee (Subfamily Halictinae)

terminal mummy wasp

Texas leaf-cutter bee

thread-waisted wasp (Sphecinae)

tricolored bumble bee

true melissodes bee (Melissodes Subgenus Eumelissodes)

turfgrass ant

two-spotted bumble bee

western honey bee

wild carrot wasp

wood ant (Formica sp.)

yellow-faced bee (Hylaeus sp.)


agile long-horned bee (Melissodes agilis)

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alfalfa leafcutting bee (Megachile rotundata)

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Allegheny mound ant (Formica exsectoides)


alternate cuckoo-leaf-cutter bee (Coelioxys alternatus)


American ant (Myrmica americana)


American bumble bee (Bombus pensylvanicus)


ants (Family Formicidae)

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bald-faced hornet (Dolichovespula maculata)


bald-spot sweat bee (Lasioglossum paraforbesii)


bellflower resin bee (Megachile campanulae)

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bicolored striped sweat bee (Agapostemon virescens)


bi-lobed cuckoo sweat bee (Sphecodes confertus)

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black and yellow mud dauber (Sceliphron caementarium)

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black-and-gold bumble bee (Bombus auricomus)


black-and-gray leaf-cutter bee (Megachile melanophaea)


black and red horntail (Urocerus cressoni)


black-headed ash sawfly (Tethida cordigera)


blood-red ant (Formica sanguinea)


blue orchard bee (Osmia lignaria lignaria)


blue-winged wasp (Scolia dubia)


braconid wasp (Atanycolus charus)


braconid wasp (Atanycolus crassicruris)


braconid wasp (Atanycolus longicauda)


braconid wasp (Atanycolus nigropyga)


braconid wasp (Atanycolus niteofrons)


braconid wasp (Atanycolus rugosiventris)


braconid wasp (Atanycolus simplex)


braconid wasp (Atanycolus spp.)


braconid wasp (Atanycolus ulmicola)


braconid wasp (Family Braconidae)

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broad-handed leafcutting bee (Megachile latimanus)

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brown-belted bumble bee (Bombus griseocollis)


brown-headed ash sawfly (Tomostethus multicinctus)


brown-winged striped sweat bee (Agapostemon splendens)


chalcid wasp (Melittobia spp.)


cherry gall wasp (Cynips quercusfolii)

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common aerial yellowjacket (Dolichovespula arenaria)

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common eastern bumble bee (Bombus impatiens)


common little leaf-cutter bee (Megachile brevis)

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common sawfly (Family Tenthredinidae)

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common sawfly (Macrophya epinota)


common sawfly (Macrophya flavolineata)


common sawfly (Macrophya fumator)

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common sawfly (Macrophya pulchella)


common sawfly (Macrophya spp.)


common sawfly (Macrophya tibiator)

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common sawfly (Macrophya trisyllaba)


common sawfly (Monophadnoides spp.)


common yellowjacket (Vespula alascensis)


confusing bumble bee (Bombus perplexus)


confusing furrow bee (Halictus confusus)


constrained cuckoo carder bee (Stelis coarctatus)


cornfield ant (Lasius alienus)


Cresson’s sweat bee (Lasioglossum cressonii)


cuckoo wasp (Chrysura smaragdula)


cuckoo wasp (Elampus spp.)


cuckoo wasp (Family Chrysididae)


cuckoo wasp (Hedychrum confusum)


cuckoo wasp (Muesbeckidium obsoletum)


cuckoo wasp (Subfamily Chrysidinae)


cuckoo wasp (Trichrysis doriae)

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curled rose sawfly (Allantus cinctus)


cyclops cuckoo sweat bee (Sphecodes heraclei)


Davis’s cuckoo sweat bee (Sphecodes davisii)


digger bee (Anthophora terminalis)

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dogwood sawfly (Macremphytus tarsatus)

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downy yellowjacket (Vespula flavopilosa)


dull-breasted sweat bee (Lasioglossum pectorale)


dusky birch sawfly (Croesus latitarsus)


eastern black carpenter ant (Camponotus pennsylvanicus)

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eastern yellowjacket (Vespula maculifrons)

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eight-toothed cuckoo leaf-cutter bee (Coelioxys octodentata)

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elm leafminer (Fenusa ulmi)

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elm sawfly (Cimbex americana)


European paper wasp (Polistes dominula)


European pine sawfly (Neodiprion sertifer)


flat-tailed leaf-cutter bee (Megachile mendica)


forest yellowjacket (Vespula acadica)


four-banded stink bug hunter wasp (Bicyrtes quadrifasciatus)

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fraternal potter wasp (Eumenes fraternus)


frigid leaf-cutter bee (Megachile frigida)


fuzzy mound ant (Formica lasioides)

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German yellowjacket (Vespula germanica)


giant ichneumon (Megarhyssa atrata)


giant ichneumon (Megarhyssa macrurus)


golden northern bumble bee (Bombus fervidus)


golden sweat bee (Augochlorella aurata)


gouty oak gall wasp (Callirhytis quercus punctata)

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grass-carrying wasp (Isodontia mexicana)

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great black wasp (Sphex pensylvanicus)

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great golden digger wasp (Sphex ichneumoneus)


green metallic sweat bee (Augochloropsis metallica)


ground hornet (Vespula vidua)


hairy-banded mining bee (Andrena hirticincta)

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half-black bumble bee (Bombus vagans)


hawthorn leafminer (Profenusa canadensis)


high noon ant (Forelius pruinosus)


homogeneous cuckoo sweat bee (Sphecodes persimilis)


Hunt’s bumble bee (Bombus huntii)


ichneumon wasp (Aritranis director)


ichneumon wasp (Cosmoconus canadensis)


ichneumon wasp (Cosmoconus spp.)


ichneumon wasp (Cratichneumon annulatipes)


ichneumon wasp (Cratichneumon paratus)


ichneumon wasp (Cratichneumon pteridis)

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ichneumon wasp (Cratichneumon spp.)


ichneumon wasp (Cratichneumon sublatus)


ichneumon wasp (Cratichneumon tyloidifer)


ichneumon wasp (Cratichneumon unifasciatorius)


ichneumon wasp (Cratichneumon vescus)


ichneumon wasp (Cratichneumon vinnulus)


ichneumon wasp (Cratichneumon w-album)

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ichneumon wasp (Family Ichneumonidae)


ichneumon wasp (Lissonota acrobasidis)


ichneumon wasp (Lissonota atrimalis)


ichneumon wasp (Lissonota brevipappus)


ichneumon wasp (Lissonota brunnea)


ichneumon wasp (Lissonota conferta)


ichneumon wasp (Lissonota coracina)


ichneumon wasp (Lissonota crevieri)


ichneumon wasp (Lissonota cruralis)


ichneumon wasp (Lissonota cylpeator)


ichneumon wasp (Lissonota exigua)


ichneumon wasp (Lissonota exilis)


ichneumon wasp (Lissonota imitatrix)


ichneumon wasp (Lissonota parva)


ichneumon wasp (Lissonota punctata)


ichneumon wasp (Lissonota rubrica)


ichneumon wasp (Lissonota scutellaris)

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ichneumon wasp (Lissonota spp.)


ichneumon wasp (Lissonota stenostoma)


ichneumon wasp (Lissonota tegularis)


ichneumon wasp (Ophionellus spp.)


ichneumon wasp (Ophionellus texanus)


ichneumon wasp (Therion circumflexum)


ichneumon wasp (Therion fuscipenne)


ichneumon wasp (Therion morio)


ichneumon wasp (Therion nigripes)


ichneumon wasp (Therion petiolatum)


ichneumon wasp (Therion spp.)


ichneumon wasp (Therion tenuipes)


ichneumon wasp (Therion texanum)


introduced pine sawfly (Diprion similis)


jumping oak gall wasp (Neuroterus saltatorius)


larch sawfly (Pristiphora erichsonii)

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larger empty oak apple wasp (Amphibolips quercusinanis)

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leaf-cutter bee (Megachile sp.)


leathery sweat bee (Lasioglossum coriaceum)

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lemon cuckoo bumble bee (Bombus citrinus)


ligated furrow bee (Halictus ligatus)


light bronze mound ant (Formica subaenescens)


little black ant (Monomorium minimum)


long-horned bee (Melissodes confusa)


long-horned bee (Melissodes coreopsis)


long-horned bee (Melissodes denticulatus)


long-horned bee (Melissodes druriellus)


long-horned bee (Melissodes grindelliae)


long-horned bee (Melissodes illatus)


long-horned bee (Melissodes menuachus)


long-horned bee (Melissodes pallidisignatus)


long-horned bee (Melissodes subagilis)


long-horned bee (Melissodes subillatus)


long-horned bee (Melissodes trinodis)


long-horned bee (Melissodes wheeleri)


maple petiole borer (Caulocampus acericaulis)


Mary’s long-necked ant (Dolichoderus mariae)


masked bee (Hylaeus sp.)

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metallic bluish-green cuckoo wasp (Chrysis angolensis)


mossy rose gall wasp (Diplolepis rosae)


mottled long-necked ant (Dolichoderus plagiatus)


mountain ash sawfly (Pristiphora geniculata)


New World mound ant (Formica neogagates)

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New York carpenter ant (Camponotus novaeboracensis)

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nomad bee (Nomada sp.)

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northern amber bumble bee (Bombus borealis)

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northern paper wasp (Polistes fuscatus)


northern red wood ant (Formica obscuriventris)

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oak flake gall wasp (Neuroterus floccosus)

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oak gall wasp (Amphibolips cookii)


oak gall wasp (Neuroterus exiguissimus)

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oak rough bulletgall wasp (Disholcaspis quercusmamma)


odorous house ant (Tapinoma sessile)


orange-bellied mummy wasp (Aleiodes abdominalis)


orange-legged furrow bee (Halictus rubicundus)


pale mound ant (Formica pallidefulva)


parallel-striped sweat bee (Halictus parallelus)


pear sawfly (Caliroa cerasi)

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pelecinid wasp (Pelecinus polyturator)

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pigeon tremex (Tremex columba)


pitted mound ant (Formica fossaceps)

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podzol mound ant (Formica podzolica)

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potter wasp (Eumeninae)


potter wasp (Ancistrocerus adiabatus)


potter wasp (Ancistrocerus antilope)


potter wasp (Ancistrocerus catskill)


potter wasp (Ancistrocerus parietum)


potter wasp (Ancistrocerus waldenii)


potter wasp (Eumenes crucifera)


potter wasp (Euodynerus foraminatus)


potter wasp (Euodynerus leucomelas)


pugnacious leaf-cutter bee (Megachile pugnata)

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pure green augochlora (Augochlora pura)

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pyramid ant (Dorymyrmex insanus)


red-bearded mound ant (Formica neorufibarbis)

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red-belted bumble bee (Bombus rufocinctus)


redheaded pine sawfly (Neodiprion lecontei)


resin bee (Heriades carinata)

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roseslug (Endelomyia aethiops)


ruddy slave-making mound ant (Formica rubicunda)


rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis)


Sanderson’s bumble bee (Bombus sandersoni)


sand-loving wasp (Tachytes distinctus)


sawfly (suborder Symphyta)


scalloped cuckoo sweat bee (Sphecodes dichrous)


sculptured resin bee (Megachile sculpturalis)


short-spined ant (Myrmica brevispinosa)


silky agapostemon (Agapostemon sericeus)


silky ant (Formica fusca group)


silvery field ant (Formica argentea)


small-handed leaf-cutter bee (Megachile gemula)


smaller carpenter ant (Camponotus nearcticus)


smaller yellow ant (Lasius claviger)

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somewhat silky mound ant (Formica subsericea)


spider wasp (Auplopus archictectus)


spider wasp (Auplopus caerulescens)


spider wasp (Auplopus mellipes variitarsatus)


spider wasp (Auplopus nigrellus)

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spider wasp (Caliadurgus fasciatellus)

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spider wasp (Pompilidae)

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spiny rose stem gall wasp (Diplolepis spinosa)

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spongy oak apple gall wasp (Amphibolips confluenta)

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square-headed wasp (Crabroninae)

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sweat bee (Subfamily Halictinae)


Taschenberg’s long-necked ant (Dolichoderus taschenbergi)

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terminal mummy wasp (Aleiodes terminalis)

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Texas leaf-cutter bee (Megachile texana)


thief ant (Solenopsis molesta)


thimbleberry stem gall wasp (Diastrophus kincaidii)


thistle long-horned bee (Melissodes desponsus)


thread-waisted wasp (Sphecinae)


tiny crazy ant (Nylanderia parvula)


tiny-queened field ant (Lasius minutus)


translucent oak gall wasp (Amphibolips nubilipennis)

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tricolored bumble bee (Bombus ternarius)

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true melissodes bees (Melissodes Subgenus Eumelissodes)

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turfgrass ant (Lasius neoniger)

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two-spotted bumble bee (Bombus bimaculatus)


two-spotted longhorned bee (Melissodes bimaculata)


Ulke’s ant (Formica ulkei)


velvet ant (Dasymutilla sp.)


very smooth sweat bee (Lasioglossum laevissimum)


Viereck’s sweat bee (Lasioglossum vierecki)

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western honey bee (Apis mellifera)


western thatching ant (Formica obscuripes)


white pine sawfly (Neodiprion pinetum)


white-horned horntail (Urocerus albicornis)


white-zoned furrow bee (Lasioglossum leucozonium)


wide-faced ant (Myrmica latifrons)


wide-footed field ant (Lasius latipes)

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wild carrot wasp (Gasteruption assectator)


willow sawfly (Nematus ventralis)


winter ant (Prenolepis imparis)


wood ant (Formica sp.)


wool-bearing gall wasp (Andricus quercuslanigera)


yellow shadow ant (Lasius aphidicola)


yellow-banded bumble bee (Bombus terricola)

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yellow-faced bee (Hylaeus sp.)


yellowheaded spruce sawfly (Pikonema alaskensis)


yellowjacket (Vespula sp.)






No Species Page Yet?

If you do not see a linked page for an insect in the list at left, or the insect does not appear in the list, you can still upload a photo or video as an email attachment or report a sighting for that insect. Click on one of the buttons below and type in the common name and/or scientific name of the insect in your photo, video, or sighting. A new page will be created for that insect featuring your contribution.

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Capitalization of Common Names

Insect scientific names are governed by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN). Vernacular (common) names are not. In an attempt to “assure the uniformity of (common) names of common insects” the Entomological Society of America (ESA) published Common Names of Insects and Related Organisms. ESA has no rule or guideline that addresses capitalization of common names. However, the database of common names published by ESA does not capitalize common names. National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) also uses uncapitalized common names. Most other sources, including ITIS, BAMONA, Odonata Central, and the Peterson Field Guides, capitalize common insect names. MinnesotaSeasons.com will adhere to the convention followed by ESA and NCBI.


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