As of July 1, 2020, the formal Wasp Watchers program has ended.  However, interested volunteers can still monitor Smoky Winged Beetle Bandit wasp nests in order to look out for Emerald Ash Borer. Volunteers can use existing online data collection tools: iNaturalist to collect buprestid biodiversity data; and EDDMapS or Arrest the Pest to report Emerald Ash Borer infestations. For more information about the ending of this program, read the Sunset Notice.


By paring down the process to the basics, we can still get the benefits of collecting buprestid beetle biodiversity data and EAB detection. The University of Minnesota Wasp Watchers website will remain online as a resource with educational materials and protocols still available.  It will NOT be maintained with updates.


  • A list of known nesting sites will continue to be posted on the Wasp Watchers website.
  • Biosurveillance season runs from late June to early August. 
  • Wasps hunt best on sunny days when the temperature is above 70 degrees F.


  • Look on the ground near nest openings for abandoned beetles. 
  • Photograph the beetles. 
  • Be sure to get the insect in focus, take photos with different angles to help with identification and get as close as possible (with your camera, rather than just rely on zooming in.)
  • Find great tips for photographing insects online. Try tips from the Xerces Society.


  • According to iNaturalist, “Every observation can contribute to biodiversity science, from the rarest butterfly to the most common backyard weed. We share your findings with scientific data repositories to help scientists find and use your data. All you have to do is observe.”
  • There are many great resources to learn how to use iNaturalist.  On their own website, there are video tutorials to teach you how make an observation:
  • www.inaturalist.org/pages/video+tutorials
  • Once you have created an account, you can add your buprestid photos to your account.
  • You can join the project in iNaturalist called Native Buprestids of Minnesota.  This will automatically collect all buprestid data entered in Minnesota.  Don’t forget to label your specimen photographs to the best of your ability.  If the beetle bandit wasp was carrying it, it is a buprestid—so you can at least assign the Family label as Buprestidae.

PHOTOGRAPH AND REPORT SMOKY WINGED BEETLE BANDIT WASPS ON iNaturalist. The MN Wasp Watchers project in iNaturalist will still exist and you can post pictures of the Smoky winged beetle bandit (Cerceris fumipennis) in this project.

REPORT EAB:  If you believe you have collected Emerald Ash Borer in a new community or county, that will need to be reported.

  • Collect the EAB specimen.  Any jar, container or Ziploc plastic bag will work.  Label the location, date, and your name. Take a photograph of the specimen.  Put specimen in the freezer.
  • EDDMaps is a platform created by the University of Georgia’s Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health
  • The purpose of EDDMapS is to find, map, and track invasive species by creating a system that natural resource professionals and volunteers can report and record data about specific locations of invasive species discoveries.
  • Officials working on state and local levels can then access your report of Emerald Ash Borer.
  • Visit the website or download the free smartphone/tablet app available Bugwood App for iphone, ipad or Android available in the Apple or Google play store
  • An alternative to using EDMapS is simply contacting the state entomologists at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA).  You can send an email or make a phone call on the Arrest the Pest line:
  • http://mda.state.mn.us/plants-insects/arrest-pest
  • Call or Email Arrest the Pest at:

Inform them that you collected Emerald Ash Borer at a Cerceris wasp nesting site.  Include the date, location, your contact information and a photograph.   


  • Have your own insect net and still want to capture beetle-hunting wasps?
  • You can still actively capture wasps with beetle prey.
  • You can photograph the captured beetles, too, and upload those photographs to iNaturalist or EDMapS, just like the abandoned ones.


  • You can volunteer to pin, label, and identify your collected buprestid beetles. There are a lot of great resources online about how to create your own collection.  This website from Purdue’s University Extension on Youth and Entomology is especially helpful. These specimens can then be donated to the University of Minnesota Insect Collection.
  • See the separate web page on pinning and labeling buprestids under the Volunteer Tab for more information.
  • If you create a buprestid insect collection and want to donate it to the University of Minnesota Insect Collection, you can contact the Insect Collection curator, at [email protected].