Did you see a great black wasp inside your house or in your garden and want nothing to do with it? Here’s how to get rid of great black wasps.
For people scared of wasps, nothing could be more frightening than a great black wasp making its way into their homes or gardens. Wasps can indeed be really dangerous as these insects are infamous for their painful bites.
While the great black wasp is a solitary wasp that does not attack without provocation, the female can still sting when she feels threatened.
But is there a way to get rid of her? In this article, let us find out if there are solutions to get rid of great black wasps from your garden.
What Does a Black Wasp Looks Like?
The giant black wasp is a common insect in most parts of North America. These wasps have solid black bodies with no other stripes on their body.
They have a narrow constriction around their waist, a particular trait of thread-waisted wasps, also known as the Sphecidae family.
However, some may have yellow and red abdomens with dusty wings. The wasps of this species are larger than ordinary wasps.
The female wasps grow up to 0.8-1.2 inches and are significantly bigger than even the male wasps. These wasps don’t stay in colonies; instead, they burrow their nests underground (which is why they are also called digger wasps)
The mouthpiece of these wasps has an extra spike overlapping at the front, which helps them suck the bodily fluids out of prey. Like any other common wasp, they have spiny and spindly legs.
Is the Great Black Wasp Harmful to Humans?
Black wasps do not back down from protecting themselves or their nests from other predators. The females are stinging insects like other wasps.
But these creatures are not dangerous to humans. If a wasp attacks you, it is because they perceive you as a threat to them.
All kinds of wasps can sting other animals, and they can be very painful stings. Only adult female wasps have stingers, and they usually refrain from stinging humans unless they are protecting their eggs.
Black wasps do not have any form of life-threatening venom or poison in their stingers, but their stings can be enough to make a grown man whimper.
The sting takes a few hours to recover from and can cause itching and a large red rash, but it usually does not need any major medical intervention.
How To Kill Great Black Wasps?
Even if there are one or two of these wasps in your house, you should get rid of them. Black wasps become particularly difficult to handle when they get inside the house.
However, there are ways in which you can fight back. Before we discuss these ways, here are some protective measures you should take so that you keep yourself safe:
- Wear heavy, covered clothes like jeans, jackets, and long-sleeves
- Keep an insecticide handy that you can use when needed
- Look out for the nests first before going after the wasp.
Wasps Outside The House
Most wasps can be spotted easily around a garden due to their nests around the stems and leaves of plants. You can spray them with an insecticide to get rid of them.
However, great black wasps build underground nests that can be difficult to find. Try looking at specific spots where you have seen the wasps before.
Target these areas after dark, when the wasps are sleeping, and cover the area with any insecticide.
Use insecticide dust at the entrance of the black wasp nests, which is likely to kill them or at least weaken them when they try to get out.
Finally, whatever you are doing, the important thing is to be on your feet and run away whenever you have to!
Wasps Inside The House
Killing a wasp that has entered and nested in your house is a bit more complicated than killing one outside. For one thing, it is easier to run inside if it darts at you!
Once you have taken all the protective measures, you can start to look for burrows in walls and tiny holes that are good hiding spots.
Spraying these areas with a non-toxic mint spray or some form of insecticide with a strong smell can kill the wasps or drive them out of the nest.
Once you have used the spray and drawn the wasps out, they will try flying around. Here, you can slam them down with a book, shoe, or fly swatter – all equally effective methods.
Other Effective Ways to Control Great Black Wasps
Apart from spraying insecticides on them or near their nests, here are some more ideas that you can use to hunt these big insects:
The main food source for these wasps is nectar from flowers. Keeping your plants indoors will ensure that these wasps would not like to come to your house.
Cleaning off trash cans is again important because trash cans might have leftover food that these pests can feed on.
Sticky traps can be very useful for trapping insects. Many sticky traps come with colors, patterns, and pheromones that can attract insects to them.
If you catch hold of a black wasp with one, you can take it outside and leave it somewhere. It won’t bother you.
Using non-insecticide sprays can keep indoors free from wasps. You can use natural oils and herbs to make a simple yet effective spray for these and other bugs.
Essential oil sprays like thyme, peppermint, rosemary, and cloves can also keep wasps away for a long time. Use these sprays at night when the wasps retire to their nests.
One of the best ideas to get rid of insects is to spray as much insecticide as possible on the nests if you spot on. The insects will try to fly away, and you must be careful when spraying the nests.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where do black wasps make their nests?
The Great Black Wasps are a form of digger wasps that make their nests by burrowing inside the ground (which is why they are also called digger wasps).
They usually dig up to a foot beneath the ground with their mouths and legs. The nests have several chambers with connecting tunnels. The wasp lays one egg in each of these chambers.
What do black wasps hate?
Great black wasps are easily annoyed by the strong smells of certain plants such as peppermint, thyme, geranium, bay leaves, and lemongrass.
Apart from these, black wasps also don’t like cinnamon, vinegar, coffee grounds, and sliced cucumber. All of these can be very effective as wasp repellants inside the home.
How do you get rid of black wasps naturally?
The most effective way to get rid of wasps is to use strong-smelling stuff like vinegar spray and herbs like peppermint, cinnamon, coffee grounds, thyme, and cloves.
All of these can help keep wasps away. Menthol is another effective remedy to keep great black wasps away from you.
How painful is a great black wasp sting?
A great black wasp sting is not the easiest thing to handle. If you get stung by one, you will feel a lot of discomfort and pain. Afterward, this sting area will turn red with swelling and itching.
The wound can cause hives for someone allergic to insect bites and, in severe cases, can lead to an anaphylactic shock.
Great black wasps are usually calm and not aggressive. But they can be hard to get rid of, and if they sting you, the wound can hurt a lot.
However, there are ways to get rid of them, such as using strong smells and insecticides and keeping flowers indoors. We have laid out what to do if you want to kill a great black wasp above.
Thank you for reading!
Everyone is afraid of large wasps in their gardens. Below, read how many of our readers have inquired about the best way to get rid of them and some of the tips and tricks they have used.
Letter 1 – Great Black Wasps exterminated because they were "rather annoying"
What is this bug that captures grasshoppers?
Location: Eastern Ontario Canada
July 20, 2010 8:18 pm
We live in eastern Ontario between Ottawa and Montreal Canada. Last year we started to see these large ’flys’ swarming around our pool shed and down under some loose brick near the pool. There was just a few of them but what was interesting is that they captured and carried grasshoppers back under the brick where they obviously have a nest. This year there were many more of them so I got some sticky paper that’s meant to capture bugs and even mice (very sticky) and have caught nearly all of them along with a bunch of grasshoppers. There’s still a few of them left. They do not bother humans or try to bite but are rather annoying when a bunch are buzzing around. Its difficult to spray insecticide as its outside but I’m wondering how to get rid of them permanently. I’ve been at this location for 30 years but last year was the first time I’ve ever seen these bugs.
I’ve attached a picture
This is a Great Black Wasp, Sphex pensylvanicus, and as your letter indicates, it is not an aggressive species. We do not give extermination advice, however, it has always been our mission to educate the public with regards to insects, spiders and other creatures that might appear to be frightening, but are actually quite benign or even beneficial. The Great Black Wasp is one of those insects. We cannot condone a justification of eradication just because a species is “somewhat annoying” especially since you indicate that they “do not bother humans or try to bite.” We will be filing your letter and photograph under Unnecessary Carnage in an effort to educate. According to BugGuide, the female Great Black Wasps: “Provision nests (in burrow in soft earth) with Katydids or grasshoppters [sic]. (Univ. Florida lists: Tettigoniidae in genera Microcentrum and Scudderia.) Usually about three are placed in a nest.” There is a nice image on Wikipedia of a Great Black Wasp dragging a Katydid to its burrow. We would encourage you to be more tolerant of Great Black Wasps in the future.
A Reader Chastises Us for Failing to Educate
Failing to educate
July 17, 2011 6:26 am
I was just reading your response to Evan McIntosh regarding eradication of great black wasps. You wrote, “…it has always been our mission to educate the public with regards to insects, spiders and other creatures that might appear to be frightening, but are actually quite benign or even beneficial. The Great Black Wasp is one of those insects.” You were quick to judge Evan by classifying his post under “Unnecessary Carnage” and claim to have education as your primary mission, yet do not provide one useful piece of info in your response. Did you think to describe WHY the great black wasp is beneficial? Next time, try educating first, and judging second. For me, I’m exterminating these wasps because my 3 yr old is afraid to leave the front door, where they “patrol” constantly, and my wife doesn’t like them getting into our home through the basement. I’d rather study bees and wasps with him on my terms, not theirs. I’d be happy to send a nice photo if you want more for your “Unnecessary Carnage” file.
Signature: Paul Bradley
The Great Black Wasp, Sphex pensylvanicus, is a Thread Waisted Wasp that is also known as the Katydid Hunter according to BugGuide.
Letter 2 – Great Black Wasp: Unnecessary Carnage
Subject: Large Black Mud Dauber???
Location: Athens, Ontario, Canada
August 2, 2012 7:07 am
My family and myself noticed these insects this summer flying around and crawling between the interlocking stone and the pool this summer. They keep flying around us whenever we swim and I’m worried somebody is going to get stung. I’ve also noticed them carrying locust into their nest which I figure is in our pool area. Is there any way I can remove these from this area?
This is a Great Black Wasp, Sphex pensylvanicus, and it is not an aggressive species. You mentioned seeing the female with a locust. BugGuide notes that they prey upon Katydids which earns the species an additional common name Katydid Hunter. Since they are not aggressive, we would urge you to just let them cohabitate with you in your yard and to refrain from killing any more individuals of this magnificent wasp.
Letter 3 – Great Black Wasp Carnage
Subject: Large wasp-like insect. Social.
Location: Cherokee County, Iowa
July 18, 2015 7:10 am
Hello. Last week on Thursday, I noticed a large, wasp-like insect flying around a storm drain at the place where I work. Normally, I wouldn’t pay much attention, but they were in an area of high traffic, and they seemed to “multiply” as the day went along. I first noticed just the one insect flying in and out of the drain Then there were two, and by the end of Thursday, there were four coming and going. Friday’s end brought with it six insects flying in and out.
Every time a truck would park near the storm drain, all of the insects would “swarm” the truck. No one was stung, however, the freight drivers did complain about the bugs. We were forced to eradicate the nest. Inside the drain was a softball-sized nest completely constructed of mud. I witnessed one of the wasps carrying a katydid, and a co-worker of mine noticed the same thing.
I live in northwest Iowa. I have included a picture of the wasp. I was unable to get a good picture of the nest as it was inside the storm drain. Thanks for your help
This is a Great Black Wasp, Sphex pensylvanicus, and most of the information you have provided seems consistent with the recorded behavior of the species except the social behavior you stated. Great Black Wasps are solitary wasps, not a social species, though we concede that if conditions for nesting are ideal, multiple females may nest in the same vicinity. Great Black Wasps do prey upon Katydids to provide food for the brood. In an effort to educate our readership, we are tagging this posting as Unnecessary Carnage.