Wasp Beetle

Wasp Beetle ©Penny Frith

Wasp beetle

Scientific name: Clytus arietis
A clever mimic, the wasp beetle is black-and-yellow and moves in a jerky, flight-like fashion - fooling predators into thinking it is actually a more harmful common wasp. Look for it in hedgerows and woods in summer.

Species information

Statistics

Length: 1.6cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

May to July

About

The wasp beetle is a small, narrow-bodied longhorn beetle. The larvae live in warm, dry, dead wood, such as fence posts and dead branches, and particularly favour willow and birch. The adults can be found feeding on flowers along woodland rides and hedgerows during the summer. The wasp beetle lives up to its name by mimicking the common wasp in both colouration and in its behaviour, moving in a jerky fashion similar to a wasp's flight. This mimicry keeps it safe from predators, even though it is actually harmless

How to identify

The wasp beetle is black with yellow bands on the body, and relatively short antennae. There are several other black-and-yellow longhorn beetles, but most have more pointed bodies and longer antennae.

Distribution

Widespread in England and Wales, but rarer in Scotland.

Did you know?

Wasp beetles sometimes hatch out of firewood that has been brought into the house to dry over the winter.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way.
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