If you’ve ever been to the Lone Star State, you know that stinging insects are as much a part of Texas culture as Tex-Mex cuisine and cowboy boots.
But what types of wasps make the state their home? And how do they impact you?
Read on for everything you need to know about the seven common wasps in Texas and how they can affect your life.
|Name of Wasp||Identifiable Traits||Habitat||Diet||Type of Nest|
|Yellowjackets||Up to 16 mm, yellow and black stripes, lance-like stingers with barbs, large heads||All over North America, in hollow logs, attics, walls, eaves, etc.||Live and dead insects, fruits, nectar||Exposed aerial nests|
|Paper Wasps||½ – ¾ ” long with long legs, antennae, and brown colors (red or yellow markings)||Sheltered areas, like under the eaves of a house||Nectar and insects||Nests made of papery brown material|
|Eastern Cicada Killer||Black bodies with zigzag white or yellow stripes, up to 1.5″ long||Sandy or well-drained soils||Insects, cicadas, flower nectar, fermented sap||Ground nest|
|Thread-Waisted Wasps||Glossy black color with red or orange bands near the thin waist||Open areas with sandy or soft soil||Nectar, honeydew, body fluids of insects||Burrow in loose dirt|
|Great Black Digger Wasps||Up to 28 mm in length, deep wings and black body with bluish sheen||Pastures, meadows, and areas where landscaping plants and flowers are found||Other insects and nectar||Builds nests in the ground|
|Scoliid Wasps||Black color with two white spots||New England to Florida, usually near flowers||Nectar and pollen||Don’t build a nest; live in the nests of scarab beetles|
|Velvet Ants||Yellow, brown, or black, females have a long, needle-like stinger||Dry, sandy, sunny areas||Nectar||Isolated nests in pastures and fields with sandy soil|
The yellowjacket is a medium-sized wasp that can be identified by its black and yellow striped pattern. They are social creatures and live in colonies, which can range from several thousand to several hundred thousand individuals.
The type of nest they build depends on the species—some prefer to build their nests underground while others like to construct aerial nests in trees or shrubs. Their diet consists mainly of proteins such as other insects and nectar from flowers. They also enjoy sweet foods like fruit juice or sugary drinks if they can find them.
Although these wasps don’t tend to be aggressive, it’s important to be cautious when dealing with them because they will sting if they feel threatened. These stings can be painful and may even cause an allergic reaction in some people, so it’s best to stay away from any active yellowjacket nests. Additionally, their presence may attract other insects such as bees or hornets, which could cause further problems for humans who come into contact with them.
Despite the risks associated with interacting with them, yellowjackets are actually beneficial in many ways. For instance, they help keep other insect populations under control by preying on them for food. In addition, their pollen-collecting habits help spread pollen throughout the environment which assists in plant growth and reproduction.
A paper wasp is easy to identify thanks to its long, slender legs, its reddish-brown coloring and its longer abdomen compared to other types of wasps. They can be found near sources of light and moisture, such as near ponds or puddles or under eaves of buildings. They feed on nectar and other sweet liquids like sap or honeydew—which could explain why they often hang around bird feeders!
Paper wasps typically build nests out of wood pulp (hence their name) that are easily recognizable by their distinctive umbrella-like shape that hangs from trees or walls. It’s important to note that these nests can become quite large if left unchecked, so it’s best to remove them as soon as possible.
Paper wasps can sting multiple times if provoked, and their venom can cause painful swelling at the site of the sting. However, they are generally not aggressive unless threatened directly and will usually fly away when disturbed.
While we may think of them as pesky pests buzzing around our backyards, paper wasps actually play an important role in our ecosystem by pollinating flowers and preying on other insects like caterpillars that are considered agricultural pests.
The Eastern Cicada Killer is a large species of wasp that can grow up to 2 inches in length. Males are usually darker in color than females and can be identified by their yellow-tipped antennae. They also have two pairs of wings and six legs with spiky hairs covering their bodies.
These wasps are found throughout much of Texas, particularly in sandy or clay soils near rivers or streams. They like warm climates and typically remain active from July to October each year.
The Eastern Cicada Killer is a carnivore, feeding mainly on cicadas as well as other insects such as crickets, grasshoppers, spiders, and beetles. They hunt for food during the day and bring it back to their nests at night.
While they may look scary and can cause some minor damage when building their nests, there is no need to be alarmed by the presence of these creatures—they actually play an important role in our ecosystem!
By eating cicadas (which are considered pests) and other insects, these wasps help keep insect populations under control which helps keep our environment healthy and balanced.
Thread-waisted wasps are easily identifiable by their thin, “thread” like waists and long antennae. They range from yellow to black in color, with some having white stripes or spots on their bodies. The most common type found in Texas is the spider wasp, which has bright yellow and black stripes all over its body.
Thread-waisted wasps tend to prefer dry areas such as open fields or disturbed soils like those created by construction sites. They build nests in soil or wood, so they can often be found near trees and shrubs.
These insects feed mainly on nectar and small insects such as spiders, caterpillars and other types of larvae. They use their long antennae to locate their prey, which they then paralyze before dragging them back to their nest for food storage.
These wasps do not typically sting unless provoked or threatened. If you find one of these creatures in your backyard, simply leave it alone! Their stings can be painful but usually not dangerous unless someone is allergic to them. These creatures help keep our ecosystems balanced by preying on small insects which helps control pest populations naturally without the need for chemical pesticides!
The Great Black Digger Wasp is quite large, measuring up to 1.5 inches in length. It has a distinctive black coloration with yellow stripes along its abdomen. Despite its intimidating size and appearance, the Great Black Digger Wasp does not pose much of a danger to humans; it rarely stings and is not aggressive towards people or animals.
The Great Black Digger Wasp is found throughout most of North America, but is particularly common in Texas where it lives in grasslands, shrub-steppes, and other open habitats near sources of nectar and food. These wasps are active during the day and can often be seen basking in the sun or hunting for prey.
This wasp feeds on both nectar from flowers as well as insects such as crickets and grasshoppers. It also has an interesting method of hunting its prey; it will dig into the ground to locate and capture! This behavior gives this species its name—the “Great Black Digger Wasp.”
Scoliid wasps are easily identifiable by their distinctive yellow-and-black-striped bodies. While they look intimidating, they are actually quite small, usually between 1/2 and 3/4 inches in length. They also have long antennae on their heads, which can be up to twice as long as their body size.
Scoliid wasps are found throughout Texas and can be seen near open grasslands, woodlands or shrublands. They prefer dry areas with plenty of sunshine and tend to stay away from densely populated cities or townships.
Scoliid wasps feed primarily on nectar and pollen from flowers. They use their long tongues to lap up sweet substances from within the flower’s petals. In some cases, the female scoliid wasp will also hunt for food for her young by capturing other insects such as beetles or flies.
Velvet ants are easily recognizable due to their bright red, black, or yellow coloring. Their bodies are covered in soft, velvety fur and can reach up to one inch long. With their fuzzy appearance, velvet ants look more like large ants than they do wasps (hence the name).
These creatures are found primarily in the southwest United States and Mexico. They prefer dry habitats like deserts and grasslands but can be found almost anywhere in Texas.
Velvet ants mainly feed on nectar and pollen from flowers but will also scavenge for dead insects. They avoid eating other live insects or spiders because they don’t want to attract predators or competitors to their nests.
These wasps don’t sting people often, but they have been known to bite if provoked or threatened by humans. When female velvet ants sting, it hurts quite a bit!
Fortunately, these wasps aren’t aggressive creatures and will only sting if provoked or threatened by humans, so it’s best to leave them alone unless you absolutely have to move them out of your way!
Despite their intimidating looks and somewhat painful bites, velvet ants actually serve a beneficial purpose in controlling some populations of pest insects like grasshoppers and crickets.
Have you been seeing a lot of wasps buzzing around your property lately? It can be hard to tell if it’s just a random few or if you have an infestation on your hands. But don’t worry—we have the knowledge and resources to help you figure out what’s going on. Let’s dive in and figure out if it’s time for some wasp wrangling!
The first thing to consider when determining whether or not you have a wasp issue is observing the behavior of the wasps around your property. There are two main behaviors that indicate wasp infestations—nesting and swarming. If you are seeing individual wasps flying around outside, they may just be scouting for a place to build their nest.
On the other hand, if you see a large group of wasps congregating near one spot, chances are they already have their home set up there. This is called swarming, and it is one of the most common signs that there is an existing nest somewhere nearby.
Another way to tell if there is an existing nest is by looking for mud tubes or paper nests attached to walls, trees, or other vertical structures near your property. Wasps usually build their nests close to human dwellings since they prefer sheltered areas with plenty of food sources nearby (e.g., garbage cans). So if you see any suspicious structures near your home, it could be a sign that something needs dealing with!
If you believe that there might be an existing nest on your property, then it’s best to leave it alone and call pest control professionals as soon as possible.
Trying to handle things yourself could make matters worse. Wasps can be very aggressive when defending their homes!
Pest control experts know how to best deal with these situations without putting anyone at risk of being stung multiple times in the process. They also have access to powerful insecticides and other equipment that could help get rid of any unwanted guests quickly and safely.