A number of different solitary wasps reside in or around homes, yards, and gardens. Because of their frequent associations with humans, these insects often evoke a great deal of anxiety. However, solitary wasps very rarely sting, and then only if mishandled. Unlike their social relatives, paper wasps, hornets, and yellowjackets (see Purdue Extension Publication E-44-W, Social Bees and Wasps
), these solitary forms do not defend their nest or burrow, thus seldom sting people.
Sometimes it is difficult to know if a wasp is social or solitary, because some solitary forms nest in aggregations. Generally, however, they can be distinguished by looking closely at the nest or burrow. Truly social wasps exist in large colonies associated with an elaborate nest, thus many individuals will be active at the nest entrance. In comparison, solitary wasps are not associated with a large nest. Typically there is only one individual in each nest or burrow.