Wasp or bee wolf: description and lifestyle

A bee (wasp) wolf or philanthus is an insect of the sand wasp family, reaching 1.5 cm in length. During the period of active actions, predatory wasps harm both families of honey bees and humans. In this review article, we will talk about this common misfortune of beekeepers, about whether it is possible to get rid of a sinister insect and what are effective ways to deal with it.


Body size13 cm10 cm
ColorsIntense yellowBlack yellow
Stingthere isNo
BacteriaThere is a mustacheAre absent

Lifestyle in nature

The task of every beekeeper is to protect his apiary from any hardships and troubles. Having an idea of ​​the lifestyle of the philanthropist, you can assess the degree of danger of this insect.


The wasp wolf (Philanthus triangulum) is distributed in the regions of Central and Central Asia, the North Caucasus, in the south of Ukraine, in the middle lane and in the southern regions of the Russian Federation.

Where nest

The philanthropist builds his nests mainly near rivers. Colonies of insects dig quite deep burrows, up to half a meter, where females lay eggs at the very bottom. For the construction of the dwelling, females choose dry, sandy soils heated by the sun's rays.

Important! The wasp wolf burrow resembles an anthill. It can be recognized by a hole in the soil up to 1 cm in size and a small tubercle above it.

What do they eat

Males love to feast on foods of plant origin. Females feed on the juice flowing from the beak of a caught bee. The philanthropic larvae feed on the corpses of bees . To feed one larva of wasp wolves, 4-6 bees are needed.

Hunting Methods

The task of feeding the offspring of the philanthropy lies with the females . It is she who goes hunting. Hiding in an ambush and smelling a honey bee, the female attacks and stings her. The venom of a predatory insect paralyzes the bee. Clutching the claws of the victim, the female she-wolf lands. Already sitting on a hard surface, she drinks nectar from the goiter of the victim, and carries the bee into the hole.

Features of reproduction and development of larvae

A young philanthropist develops for quite some time. From the moment of laying the female egg to maturity, at least a year passes. A larva emerges from a laid egg, a year later reaching the dimensions of an average caterpillar. One wasp she-wolf during her life (and she does not live longer than 30–45 days) digs up to eight nests, where she lays eggs.

For the normal development of future offspring, the female attaches the laid egg to the already stocked corpses of bees (about 6–8). The larva that appeared several days later actively eats and develops rapidly. After 7-8 days, its size reaches 1 cm, after which the stage of development of "cocoon weaving" begins.

Did you know? Unlike the bee sting, the wasp sting has no notches, therefore they do not mutilate themselves when the victim bites. After the attack, they can sting several more times.

Then follows the pupal phase, which lasts about 10 months, which enables the young philanthropist to survive the harsh winter period. And only with the onset of warm spring an adult is formed from a chrysalis.

Subspecies and Forms

The bee wolf is divided into three subspecies:

  • Philanthus triangulum abdelcader (Lepeletier, 1845);
  • Philanthus triangulum diadema (Fabricius, 1781);
  • Philanthus triangulum triangulum (Fabricius, 1775).

Form: Philanthus triangulum f. abdelkader (Balthasar, 1954).

Important! Do not reduce the threat posed by the family of wasp wolves to honey bees. Only one wasp she-wolf can kill up to 100 bees in her life .

What danger are

After a bite of a aspen wolf, a person feels a burning pain, itching. Edema also appears at the site of the bite. The philantine can threaten human health only if the victim has an allergy to the bite of this insect.

Much more damage to these individuals do apiary than to humans. Bee philanthropists attack both the honey collection and the apiary itself. With the massive spread of harmful insects, bees exhibit passive behavior, they stop flying after nectar . All this harms the bee family: the uterus ceases to lay eggs, and the entire colony weakens.

How to deal with them

If you happen to stumble upon a nest of wasp wolves, the effective fighting methods described below will come to the rescue.


Predatory wasp can be controlled with chemicals. Having discovered the nest of wasp wolves, it is necessary to treat the entrance with chemicals . Use a carbon disulfide solution or the hexachloran insecticide. The chemical can be poured directly into the hole of the bee wolf.

Did you know? The hornet is the largest of the public wasps, its dimensions reach 55 mm in length.

Manual destruction

The easiest way to get rid of predatory bees is to mechanically exterminate them using a fly swatter . By destroying the female, you will deprive food of its larvae and guarantee the safety of the apiary.

Another simple method of dealing with the philanthropist is the destruction of the insect's home . The essence of the method is to block the access of the female she-wolf to the larvae. To do this, bury the entrance to the hole, dig the ground with nests and plant a section of their residence with perennial grasses.

Thus, a lot of tools have been developed to combat the sinister bee wolf, and all of them are quite effective. The alternation of manual and chemical methods of struggle will save you and your apiary from danger.

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