Wasp Nest Beetle - Metoecus paradoxus

    Description

    This is a rather odd-looking, almost fly-like, insect about 10 mms long with narrow pointed elytra which do not completely cover the wings or abdomen. It has feathery antennae and is a parasite of wasps' nests.

    Identification difficulty
    Habitat

    Normally associated with underground wasps' nests but several have been found emerging from wasps' nests in house roof spaces.

    When to see it

    The adults emerge during the summer months.

    Life History

    This species has a fascinating life history which was only worked out in Victorian times. The adult lays eggs on rotting wood in the hope that a wasp will visit to harvest wood fibre for its nest. If one does, the beetle larva tries to climb onto the back of the wasp and is transported to the nest. It then seeks out a wasp grub and parasitises it. The beetle grows and pupates and emerges as an adult just after the time the wasp would have done. More details

    UK Status

    This species is widespread but not common in Britain.

    VC55 Status

    Uncommon in Leicestershire and Rutland. There were only 7 VC55 records for this species up to March 2015.

    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    UK Map