Quick facts

Common name: wasp beetle

Scientific name: Clytus arietis

Family: Cerambycidae

Habitat: woodland, hedgerows, parks and gardens

Predators: birds

Origin: native

What do wasp beetles look like?

Adults: aptly named, the wasp beetle has a black body with yellow wasp-like stripes and brown legs.

Larvae: are small white grubs that live in deadwood like old fence posts.

Not to be confused with: the common wasp, which has wings.

Wasp beetle collecting nectar from blossom

Credit: Richard Winn / Alamy Stock Photo

What do wasps beetles eat?

Larvae feed on deciduous dead wood. Adult wasp beetles feed on pollen, though females will sometimes eat small invertebrates for any extra protein needed to produce eggs.

Did you know?

The wasp beetle mimics real wasps to put off predators. It not only looks like a wasp, it also mimics the sideways walk of a wasp when collecting pollen from flower heads.

How do wasp beetles breed?

Female wasp beetles lay their eggs in decaying wood, and the larvae live in and feed on the wood until they grow enough to pupate and emerge as mature beetles.

The adult beetle has a relatively short life, emerging in May to find a mate and reproduce. Once mated, the adult generation will die at the end of the summer.

Wasp beetle pair mating on a bright green leaf

Credit: Nick Upton / naturepl.com

Where do wasp beetles live?

The wasp beetle is widespread across the UK and can be found on the edge of woodland, in hedgerows and in gardens.

Signs and spotting tips

Look out for adult wasp beetles between May and July. You can see them feeding on flowers on woodland edges and in parks and gardens.

Wasp beetle on leaf close up macro

Credit: Joanne Rossi / WTML

Threats and conservation

The wasp beetle is common and not believed to be threatened.