Spider Wasp (Poecilopompilus Interruptus)
There are about 300 species of spider wasps in North America. They are solitary wasps that do not have common names. This one, Poecilopompilus interruptus, varies in color considerably by region to mimic other wasps, such as the Polistes paper wasps, which sting. This is presumably to make it easier for other critters, including humans, to know that they should stay away from them. Spider wasps have a painful sting, but they are not aggressive except toward their spider prey. They will sting people if abused. The variable color pattern makes them hard to identify. Adults spider wasps eat nectar, juice from fruit, and the juice made by aphids. The females' antenna are curled at the ends, while the males' are straight or only slightly curved.