Ensign Wasp: Cockroaches, Pesticides and Asthma

Subject: Please help me identify this bug.
Location: South Florida
April 12, 2014 7:44 pm
I live in South Florida and I keep noticing these bugs inside of our apartment. It just started happening around February. They have wings although I’ve never seen them fly. We get sprayed by the exterminator in our apartment so I think I’m seeing them after they have been poisoned. They also have long back legs. Please help! I have an infant and a two year old this worries me. Thanks !
Signature: Concerned Mom

Ensign Wasp
Ensign Wasp

Dear Concerned Mom,
You should be concerned, but not because of this insect.  This is a beneficial Ensign Wasp, a species that lays eggs on the oothecae or egg cases of Cockroaches.  Developing Ensign Wasp larvae eat Cockroach Eggs and unhatched nymphs, helping to control the Cockroach population naturally, without the use of pesticides.  These dead Ensign Wasps are either the result of collateral damage due to spraying for Cockroaches, or they are the result of bug phobia.  Some folks believe any bug in the home is a problem, resulting in unnecessary spraying of potentially, environmentally toxic chemicals.  We believe that the use of pesticides in the home is much more harmful to infants and toddlers than an encounter with a beneficial Ensign Wasp which is not capable of stinging nor biting a human.

Thanks so much for your reply. When we first moved into our apartment we found out it was infested with cockroaches. They tried several different sprays and treatments finally the apartments pest control sprayed a bed bug spray that was extremely strong smelling all through the house. I don’t see cockroaches anymore except dead on occasion, but I see these often. Does it mean I still have a cockroach problem too? Is this something I should consider breaking my lease for because of my children? Thanks again for your reply.

Hi again Concerned Mom,
We do not want to provide any advice regarding relocation, but we can provide you with additional information that might help you make up your own mind.  There are several studies that link Cockroach infestations to asthma in humans.  According to the American Lung Association website:  “Cockroaches, those unpleasant and unsightly pests, are not just a problem to look at. They also produce substances, or allergens, that aggravate asthma and cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to those substances. The allergens produced by cockroaches are likely concentrated in their fecal matter and in fragments of their body parts. These tiny particles can become airborne and contaminate the air in your home.”  The site has much more information on the relationship between Cockroaches and asthma.  The pesticides versus the cockroach infestation seems like a choice between the lesser of two evils, and there are probably differing opinions on which is worse.  The Ensign Wasp continuing to manifest its appearance in your apartment is a good indication that the Cockroaches are still present, albeit unseen.

5 thoughts on “Ensign Wasp: Cockroaches, Pesticides and Asthma”

  1. Em minha casa tem muito destas vespas mas tem barata já fiz de tudo mas elas estão me vencendo o que faço para minimiza está infestação obrigado

  2. They do, or will, sting. One flew into my hair while sitting on my couch. I swatted at it while jumping out of my seat, and apparently knocked it down onto the couch cushion. When I couldn’t detect it flying around anymore, I sat back down on my couch. A couple of minutes later I was stung right through my shorts. I sprang off the couch and the little bugger flew off from where I was sitting.

  3. Hi team,

    Since I read the good things, about ensign wasp.

    Just a query out of concern as a parent.

    My 11 month old son just put one of the ensign wasp in his mouth for few seconds and as we noticed him, trying to munch, we saw it we immediately removed out from his mouth.

    Is is it something to be worried about, like some mouth ulcers or infection


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