Are you facing a huge wasp nest in or near your home? This article will share several natural ways to get rid of wasps from your garden and home.
Did you know that during 2000 – 2017, 1,109 deaths in the US were caused due to wasp and bee stings?
Yes, you read it right!
Some wasps can be highly dangerous, especially when they attack in numbers.
Therefore it is crucial to take all necessary steps to remove wasps from your garden and home.
However, it is important to understand that not all wasp species are aggressive and dangerous.
Let us take a look at the article to learn the different types of wasps and how to get rid of them.
Identifying The Wasp
Before learning how to get rid of wasps, you must know that there are around 30,000 discovered species of wasps.
Some are solitary wasps, and some live in wasp colonies. Some are large, while others are tiny. Let us take a look at some of the most common wasp types:
Paper wasps get their name from the unique umbrella-shaped nest they build.
Since they live in colonies, the entire nest is built by worker wasps using a mixture of wood pulp and saliva.
There are many different species of paper wasps. The common ones are usually around 5/8 to 3/4 inches in length.
They have brownish bodies with yellow or red markings.
These wasps help you get rid of garden pests, but they can be irritating at picnics because they love sweets like fruit juice and cake.
They are usually not aggressive but can deliver painful stings if they feel threatened.
Yellow jacket wasps
Yellow jacket wasps look similar to bees. They have black and yellow marks on the head. The body is black with bright yellow stripes.
These wasps live in colonies and are highly aggressive toward humans.
Yellowjackets are notorious for defending their nests and stinging humans.
These insects build huge underground nests and live in colonies. They can deliver nasty stings, which can sometimes be life-threatening as well.
Adults show an average growth of 0.39-0.62 inches.
These wasps are found across various regions of the United States (16 species are found here).
Mud dauber wasps
Unlike the yellowjackets and paper wasps, mud dauber wasps are solitary species.
The female construct individual nests to lay eggs. They build small nests of mud in sheds, barns, homes, and other open structures, like bridges.
Mu dauer wasps have slender and long bodies. They can be identified by their thread-like waist. The bodies are usually black or steel blue in color, topped with some yellow marks.
Mud dauber wasp stings are rarely seen. These insects are not aggressive and will not harm you until they feel threatened.
Also, they are excellent hunters and consumers of unwanted pests like spiders.
Hornets look a little similar to yellow jackets. However, they are much less aggressive than the latter.
The hornets have black bodies with yellow or white stripes. These stripes are comparatively more distinct than the yellow jackets.
There are around 20 different species of hornets scattered across the world, including the bald-faced hornets, Asian giant hornets, European hornets, and more.
Similar to paper wasps, hornets also use a mixture of saliva and wood pulp to build the nest. These insects are social and are found living in big colonies.
They are huge wasps with long legs and dark black colored bodies. Sometimes they can be blue-black or brownish as well.
The wings usually have a dark shade like the body.
These insects show an average growth of ¼ to 1½ inches.
Like mud daubers, spider wasps are also solitary. These insects are not aggressive and are mostly harmless to humans.
But they can deliver painful stings if you go near them, and they perceive you as a threat.
Why are There Wasps in Your Yard?
Many factors attract wasps to your yard. It can be the food sources available nearby, shelter options, and more.
Let us take a look at the things that attract these insects:
Ideal shelter spots
In the case of social wasps, males die in the fall after mating with the queen. The queen then seeks warm and protected spots to survive the winter.
If these queens find a suitable shelter spot in your yard, they will take up that space.
They usually look at spots like crevices, cracks, and insulated walls that can protect them from the harsh cold.
Food sources available nearby
If your garden is filled with wasp prey like spiders and other pests, they will stick around.
After winter hibernation, the queen and the workers actively seek food to food to start mating soon.
They can be beneficial to naturally eliminate these problem-causing pests. But the danger of having stinging insects around your yard can be disturbing.
Also, they will most probably build a nest in your yard if there are many food options nearby.
Wasps are good at hunting their food, but they do not mind enjoying free meals. Especially when it is protein-filled.
If you regularly keep meat leftovers in your yard, these wasps will love to be around and enjoy the free lunch.
Keep the yard clean, and make sure to cover the food to keep these wasps away from your yard.
Wasps actively search for sugar sources to help them survive the harsh cold in winter. Overipped fruits fallen from trees, hummingbird feeders, fruit juice, and other rich sources of sucrose are the ideal targets.
If your garden has fruit trees with overlapped fruits, these wasps will instantly get attracted.
Other than consuming pests and leftovers, wasps are attracted to flowering plants. You can spot them flying around flowers in search of nectar.
Also, they are attracted by strong and flowery fragrances.
Getting Rid of Wasps in Your Garden
Wasp and bee stings can be dangerous and highly painful.
If you are allergic to these stings, you must take all the necessary measures to keep these insects away from your home and garden.
Here are a few tips and tricks to help to eliminate wasp populations:
Use wasp traps
Getting a wasp trap can do wonders in eliminating wasp populations and nests from your yard.
These traps use a liquid to attract the wasps. They fly into the trap where they get stuck and drown.
These traps are effective, but you must keep cleaning and replacing them as a bundle of dead wasps can accumulate in the trap with time.
An object filled with dead wasps is not a pleasing sight.
Use store-bought wasp killer sprays
Eliminating wasp nests can be tricky. If there is an active wasp nest around your home, get a wasp nest spray.
Use a hose-end sprayer to directly sprinkle the solution in the nest from a distance. Remember to wear the necessary protective gear to steer clear of wasp stings.
Keep spraying it regularly until the wasps are entirely dead.
You can also use this spray directly on emerging wasps.
If you have a wasp roaming around the yard, spray the solution directly on it.
However, since they are chemical insecticides, read the label carefully and use them following the correct instructions. You must avoid using it near food products.
Use soapy water
If you want to avoid using chemical options to get rid of these insects. You can go for a mixture of soap and water.
You can create at home using two tablespoons of dish soap and hot water. Pour this mixture carefully into a spray bottle and use it directly on the nests.
The soap solution will clog the breathing pores of the wasps and kill them.
Build homemade traps
If you cannot find wasp traps in the nearby stores, you can build one at home.
Cut the top of a large soda bottle and fill it with a few inches of fruit juice or soda. Now add a few drops of liquid dishwashing soap.
Hang this trap in the garden; It will work like the wasp traps.
Treat future nest spots
Eliminating the wasps is good, but you must also ensure these insects do not return.
Try to predict the locations of future nests and spray liquid insecticides in such areas. Spots like pools, decks, patios, wooden fences, and more are ideal locations for the wasps to build nests.
Use professional help
It can be impossible to eliminate huge outdoor wasp colonies all by yourself. You might not have the right tools and protective clothing.
Therefore it is wise to call experts to deal with this situation.
Getting Rid of Wasps in the House
Having a wasp nest in your house can be terrifying. Here are a few ways of getting wasps in your home:
Inspect the entry point
To prevent the wasps from entering the premises, you keep inspecting the possible entry points. Do not keep the door and windows open throughout the day.
Also, look for tiny gaps and racks that these insects can use to enter your house.
Inspect the eaves, the space between bricks, ventilators, and the garage. If you find cracks and gaps, seal them immediately with silicone caulk.
Using insecticides inside your house is not a wise move. You can create a homemade wasp repellent using vinegar and sugar water.
Add two cups of apple cider vinegar to a cup of sugar water and mix them well.
Place this solution near the wasp nest. The solution will kill the wasps by attracting them to fall and drown.
If the vinegar hack is not working, you have to take drastic measures. Purchase a wasp spray and use it on the nests.
However, keep the spray away from the reach of children and food.
If you are against using the spray, call the professionals to help you with the situation.
Removing Wasp Nests
Removing individual wasps from the yard and home can be managed, but eliminating an entire wasp nest is risky, especially if it contains yellow jacket wasps.
Here are a few things to keep in mind while removing big and small wasp nests:
- Before physically approaching the nest, spray some store-bought wasp killer and let it stay for at least 24 hours. If you notice active wasps, repeat the process.
- Approach the nest only when you are certain that every insect inside is dead. If there are wasps alive, they will come out and try to sting you.
- Cover the nest with a garbage bag and carefully pull it from the wall or branch. Seal the garbage bag around the empty nest.
- Put the garbage in a trash can with a tight lid and throw it far away from your home and garden.
- If you are not confident, call pest control experts.
Preventing Wasps From Coming To Your Home
To have a wasp-free home, you must take specific steps to keep them from entering the house. Here are a few tips that can help:
- Keep inspecting the corner of the house for cracks and gaps. The tiny openings are ideal for the wasps to enter without being noticed. You must also not keep the windows and doors open all the time.
- If there are fruits in your garden, clean the overripe fallen ones regularly. These fruits are good for sucrose and can attract wasps to the garden.
- Do not leave any food leftover in the yard, especially if they are meat pieces. If you have a barbecue in the yard, clean the grill thoroughly. The leftover pieces are good protein sources for the wasps.
- Use the wasp spray on the area where these insects can build their nests. Patios, wooden fences, pools, and decks are a few ideal spots for the wasps to build nests.
Frequently Asked Questions
What keeps wasps away?
One effective method is to remove potential food sources, such as uncovered garbage and sugary drinks.
Additionally, planting certain herbs and flowers like mint, eucalyptus, and marigolds can repel wasps.
Hanging fake wasp nests can also stop them from nesting.
Finally, peppermint or clove oil can be a natural and non-toxic way to keep wasps away.
What smells will keep wasps away?
One of the most effective smells is peppermint oil.
Wasps are repelled by the strong scent of peppermint oil, so it is a good idea to place peppermint oil-soaked cotton balls near areas where wasps tend to gather.
Vinegar is another odor that can deter and repel wasps.
The strong smell of vinegar can be unpleasant for wasps, so spraying a mixture of vinegar and water around the perimeter of your outdoor space can help keep them away.
Citrus fruits, such as lemons and oranges, can also be effective in keeping wasps at bay.
Placing citrus peels around your outdoor space can help deter wasps from entering the area.
What kills wasps instantly?
There are several ways to kill wasps instantly, including using insecticide sprays or wasp-killer aerosols.
These products contain chemicals that quickly paralyze and kill the wasps upon contact.
Another effective method is to use a vacuum cleaner with a long hose attachment to suck up the wasps.
This method is safe and does not involve the use of chemicals, but it requires caution and a steady hand.
It is also important to wear protective clothing and keep a safe distance when dealing with wasps, as they can become aggressive and sting multiple times, causing pain and potential allergic reactions.
How do you kill a wasp without getting stung?
The first way is to use a wasp spray or insecticide that is specifically designed to kill wasps.
These products can be purchased at most hardware or home improvement stores. It is important to read and follow the instructions carefully to ensure safety.
Another way is to use a vacuum cleaner to suck up the wasp.
This method is effective because it removes the wasp from the area without killing it, which prevents other wasps from being attracted to the area.
Finally, you can use a homemade trap by placing a sweet substance, such as sugar water or fruit juice, in a container with a narrow opening.
The wasp will be attracted to the sweet substance and will become trapped inside the container.
Wasp and bee stings are highly painful. In some cases, these stings can be life-threatening; Therefore, it is crucial to get rid of wasps from your garden and home.
Use the information in the article to identify different kinds of wasps. Take all the necessary precautions while trying to get rid of these insects.
Remember, a lack of safety equipment can put you on the receiving end of a painful sting.
If you are against using a chemical like a wasp spray, use vinegar and soap solution to make a homemade wasp repellent.
Also, if the nest is big and dangerous, seek help from pest control experts.
Thank you for reading the article.
Obviously, getting rid of wasps is a fairly large concern that has impacted many of our readers at one time or the other.
There are several emails and letters that we have received over the years asking us to detail which type of wasp they see in their yard and what to do about them.
Please go through some of these letters below.
Letter 1 – Ensign Wasp: Cockroach Egg Parasitoid Wasp
Waiting for me when I got back from a trip
This bug was on my desk when I got back from Denver. It is probably something very common and I am going to look silly for asking, but… what is it? Thanks,
Because this question came from you, we could not rest until we had the answer. We believe this to be one of the Parasitoid Ensign Wasps, more specifically, the Cockroach Egg Parasitoid Wasp, Evania appendigaster, as evidenced by some images on BugGuide. According to a University of Florida website: “The female adult lays her eggs in the oothecae of cockroaches, parasitizing them. These insects, therefore, are beneficial to us.”
Letter 2 – Ensign Wasp
Strange Bug (Big Photos)
I’d like to know what type of insect this is. It appears to be some sort of flying ant to me. It bobs its abdomen up and down like a hatchet when it is nervous, and in a couple of the photos it seems to show an extended stinger. I’ve found three in as many weeks inside my tiny apartment in Austin Texas. Here’s an interesting side note: I didn’t plan to kill it, but it wouldn’t be still enough for me to take photos, so I submerged it it water for a minute or so and then photographed it. I kind of felt sorry for the little guy, but then he came back to life as I was photographing him! I guess I just made it faint. Thanks for the identification help! My best,
You should probably welcome the presence of the Ensign Wasp in the family Evaniidae in your apartment since the members of this family are significant natural Cockroach exterminators. The female Ensign Wasp parasitizes the egg capsules of Cockroaches. We are not certain what genus or species your specimen belongs to, but we did find a Featured Creatures profile on the Ensign Wasp Evania appendigaster with some wonderful information including: “Upon finding a cockroach egg case, the female vibrates her antennae over it. Before long, the female lies on her side with her body parallel to the long axis of the egg case with the legs braced against the latter and the body against a substrate. After a good deal of hard work and much wriggling of the abdomen, she eventually penetrates the tough integument of the egg case and inserts her ovipositor. This usually takes from 15 to 30 minutes. Only one white egg is oviposited. The developing larva undergoes five molts during which time it devours all of the eggs. Each larval instar has distinctive mandibles. The first instar has sharply pointed mandibles with a row of small teeth. This unusual armature enables the larva to cut through the tough shell of the host egg. The next two instars have longer, tridentate mandibles without the serration. The penultimate and mature larva have stockier mandibles with the tridentate cutting edge replaced by a narrow curved ventral denticle and a long blunt dorsal one. Maximum larval length is about 8 mm. Pupation occurs within the egg case without a cocoon. There are at least three generations per year in some areas, but no information is available for the southeastern United States. At maturity the adult makes its escape through a small round jagged hole which it cuts near the end of one of the long sides of the egg case. The adults live two to three weeks. They are sometimes attracted to flowers such as parsley and fennel and also to honeydew. They are not known to sting humans.”
Letter 3 – Ensign Wasp
small black flying insect in LA Mon, Oct 20, 2008 at 1:16 PM I have been unable to identify an insect I have been finding in my house in Louisiana. I have seen several others asking about it also and no one seems to have the answer. Its about 1/4 of an inch long, completely black, and has somewhat slender wings like a fly. It’s back legs are quite long and are positioned like a cricket’s. Its body resembles an ant or wasp. It does not seem agressive, but is attracted to light. It is fairly quick, about the speed of a house fly. They don’t tend to fly for long periods of time. Thanks for any info Brandon South Western Louisiana Hi Brandon, Your insect is a beneficial Ensign Wasp. They are beneficial because they parasitize the egg cases of Cockroaches, effectively reducing the population.
Letter 4 – Ensign Wasp perhaps
Small, wasplike black fly February 8, 2010 I cannot get a good picture of it, as my camera is not of good quality. But upon studying this strange little insect, I noticed physical characteristics of both a wasp and a fly. This small, black insect flies around our kitchen on occasion, it is about 3/4 of an inch in length, with a black wasp shaped head. It has six legs, the joints on all are an off white color, as well as a few tiny stripes on the sides of the thorax. The back set of legs are thick, almost cricketlike, but are about the same length as the rest of the legs. It has a single set of flylike wings, and the abdomen is elliptical, coming to a small point at the tip. I did a rough digital sketch of the insect, but I do not think I did it justice. I simply wish to know what it is, if it is dangerous, how to be rid of it, ect. Your help would be appreciated. Thank you, Felicia Wise Rhode Island, Wintertime Hi Felicia, Though your drawing is perfectly charming, there is a bit too much creative license for us to use it for any identification purposes, however your letter contains one important clue that has led us to believe you have Ensign Wasps. The hind legs of an Ensign Wasp are cricket-like. Ensign Wasps parasitize the ootheca or egg cases of cockroaches, and the presence of Ensign Wasps might indicate that you have roaches, but the wasps will help to control future generations as the Ensign Wasp larvae feed on the eggs. We have numerous images of Ensign Wasps in our archive, and you may use our search engine to find additional ones.
Letter 5 – Ensign Wasp: Unnecessary Carnage
Can’t recognize that bug February 17, 2010 Hi there, First of all I got to say I had no idea such website existed. I found it very helpful although I dont know if I can recognized the bug I am looking for. I moved into a new apartment last August and I have seen this bug couple of times already. Last time today, 5 minutes ago to be exact.Usually I see it flying in the kitchen or livingroom. It’s all black, it flies and has 6 legs I believe with 2 of them longer than the others. I have no idea where it comes from and how to permanently get rid of it. I’ve been seeing many bug in my life in many different locations in the world but never this. Does it cause any damage/ bites? Thank you Kasia Bronx, New York Hi Kasia, Since your letter indicates that five minutes prior to writing to us, you saw the insect flying, and your photograph depicts an Ensign Wasp that is in no condition to fly, we are going to tag your letter as Unnecessary Carnage. Ensign Wasps in the family Evaniidae parasitize the eggs of Cockroaches, so if the wasps are present in your home, it is a good indication that there are cockroaches as well. The Ensign Wasp is beneficial in that it will reduce the number of cockroaches that plague you, and we would recommend allowing the Ensign Wasps to thrive. Though they are wasps, they will not sting you nor harm you in any way. You may search BugGuide for more information on Ensign Wasps.
Letter 6 – Ensign Wasp
Cricket Like Bug, Moves/Is Jittery like a Wasp June 1, 2010 Dear Bugperson(s), My boyfriend and I are long-time visitors of the site, and just love to see what bugs our fellow site-mates are observing around the world. We have seen this type of bug here at our NW Houston home many times. This picture was taken in May, 2010. Often, we have observed them trying to get inside at our windows; frequently we have rescued them from an inside window. They fly in a zooming type of way, are very fast both walking and flying, and flick their tails in a downward motion. They are relatively easy to catch if not too far overhead. They appear brushfooted, are always dark grey to black. We have never observed them eating, or even more than one at a time. We affectionately refer to them as “crickety-things.” With Gratitude for all you do, Sam and Sean Curotto Houston, TX, USA Dear Sam and Sean, This is an Ensign Wasp and it will not harm you or your home. Ensign Wasps are parasitic, and the young wasp larvae feed on the contents of the ootheca, or egg cases, of Cockroaches. Anything that naturally assists in the control of cockroaches in the home should be considered beneficial. Thank you so much Bugman! This is the best news, and we have new-found respect for these little guys. I liked them before, just because they were bugs. Now, they’re heroes, too! Sam
Letter 7 – Ensign Wasp
Dont know what it is! Mutant Fly/Wasp? July 14, 2010 This is the second time I have found one of these bugs in my Tampa, Florida home. Ive did many searches online and can’t seem to find any information leading to what it might be. Its black, has wings, 6 legs, antennas and looks like a fly but has a weird butt. These are the only pictures I could find online and its considered unidentified. I didnt get close enough to know if it bites or not. Tina Tampa Florida Dear Tina, With its black coloration, cricket-like back legs, and oval abdomen connected to the body by a narrow petiole and held aloft like a waving flag, the Ensign Wasp is an unforgettable creature. Ensign Wasps parasitize the ootheca or egg cases of cockroaches, so they are natural exterminators.
Letter 8 – Ensign Wasp
Swirly butt bug Location: Saint Petersburg, FL July 30, 2010 1:47 am We’ve been trying for years to figure out what kind of bug this is. We call them swirly butt bugs because many of the ones we see look to have something protruding from their rear side that seems to move in a circular motion. I can’t tell from this picture if this one had it or not. We have to get them out of the house all the time, yet I don’t think I’ve ever seen one outside. Again, I can’t tell if it’s obvious from the picture, but he does fly. I don’t think they much care what season it is. Please tell me what kind of bug this is. Brittany in Florida Hi Brittany, We just posted another identification request for the Ensign Wasp that has a much clearer photo than the one you submitted, but what we really like about your request is the colorful way you described the behavior of the Ensign Wasp. It waves its abdomen about like a flag. Ensign Wasps parasitize the ootheca or egg cases of cockroaches, and the increased number of reports we are receiving of Ensign Wasps spells bad news for cockroaches.
Letter 9 – Ensign Wasp
Just moved to Florida from Oregon Location: North Palm Beach, Fla. October 2, 2010 4:53 pm What the HECK is this? The first time I saw this bug was in the bathroom of my new place. It was fast, moved very strangely and quickly, but didn’t appear to have wings. I saw another today on my living room wall, captured it and froze it to snap a pic. I’ve searched your site and all over online with no luck IDing it. Very long back legs, it’s last body segment it rapidly bobs up and down constantly. Tiny wings are almost invisible. It seems to be a cross between an ant and a wasp. My home is next to a pond and there are mangroves all around, and I’m very near the intracoastal waterway. Any ideas? Does it sting? Signature: THANK YOU! — Scott Dear Scott, The Ensign Wasp does not sting, however it will help to control the Cockroach population since it parasitizes the ootheca or egg cases of Cockroaches.
Letter 10 – Ensign Wasp from Australia
What bug is this? Location: Metro, Sydney. March 31, 2011 11:59 pm Dear Bugman, Can you please help identify what this bug is. I live in metropolitan Sydney and I took a photo of this in my back yard. Its approximatly 1cm in length, shiny black with features that resemble a cicada, fly and a grasshopper. Can you help me know who my neighbour is. Thank you! Signature: Damian Hi Damian, This is an Ensign Wasp, and it really needs to be recognized as it performs a significant function. Ensign Wasps parasitize the ootheca or egg cases of Cockroaches, though to the best of our knowledge, there have not been any studies on how effective Ensign Wasps are in controlling Cockroach populations.
Letter 11 – Ensign Wasp: Unnecessary Carnage because it violated personal space
Restroom violayor Location: North fort worth, texas July 19, 2011 10:42 am I have a policy of ignore and be ignored with bugs in my home. There’s just an unwritten rule of personal space, however, in the restroom that space it’s expanded exponentially to a no fly zone of assured death. Not once, not twice, but thrice times I swatted this one away with non lethal intent. At first I thought it was a spider the way it crawled out from under the scale. Then I noticed it’s cricket like hind legs and it flew, directly at me, multiple times. Also it appeara to have an antlike abdomen. Hopefully this specimen will serve as an example to others in the future. PS: He seems to have found a hair to cling to in death… How quaint. Signature: Relatively benign bug overlord Dear Relatively benign bug overlord, While we understand your desire for personal space in the bathroom, we hope your “no fly zone” policy can be moderated once you learn what you have killed. This is a harmless Ensign Wasp that is actually a beneficial parasite. Ensign Wasps parasitize the ootheca or egg cases of Cockroaches. The larval wasp feeds on the developing eggs and then pupates in the empty ootheca, ensuring that the future generation of Cockroaches in your home will be reduced. This also helps the environment by reducing the need to spray toxic chemical pesticides around the home.
Letter 12 – Ensign Wasp
What type of fly is this? Location: South Central Texas October 28, 2011 9:22 pm Mr Bugman, I notice these flies mainly during the summer months…they’re not prolific, nor do they sting or bite…I’ve always just been curious as to what name and type of fly they are. Signature: Mark Warfield Hi Mark, The Ensign Wasp, as its name implies, is not a fly. These parasitic hymenopterans lay their eggs in the ootheca or egg cases of cockroaches, helping to control the numbers of the infesting insects.
Letter 13 – Ensign Wasp
Subject: Insect identification Location: Miami, FL April 11, 2013 4:35 pm Hi, I was wondering if you could help me identify this insect I found inside my home, flying near a window. The end of its abdomen was wiggling around quite a bit and was even folded back a few times. I’ve attached a few photos I took with my phone. Thanks a lot. Signature: Kevin Hi Kevin, This is an Ensign Wasp, and you should probably welcome it into your house as they lay their eggs in the ootheca or eggcases of Cockroaches. The larval wasps then feed on the developing Cockroaches.
Letter 14 – Ensign Wasp from Iran
Subject: What’s this? Location: North of Iran (Khazar sea) July 27, 2013 12:43 am It’s tail actually moving and it’s prickle is too painful. Please look at it’s photos. Signature: ? Your Ensign Wasp is a beneficial creature that parasitizes the ootheca or egg case of Cockroaches, helping to control the populations of that household marauder.
Letter 15 – Ensign Wasp
Subject: Grasshopper Like Fly Location: Brewton, Alabama October 14, 2013 12:28 pm I’ve never seen this type of bug before it’s like a cross between a grasshopper, a fly, and a wasp all at the same time. Can you please tell me what this is? Signature: Erica C. Dear Erica, We guessed correctly from your subject line that you were inquiring about an Ensign Wasp. Ensign Wasps are parasitic and they prey upon the ootheca of Cockroaches, which means they are a natural means of controlling the household pests.
Letter 16 – Ensign Wasp from the Virgin Islands
Subject: My new roommates! Location: St. Thomas, USVI January 30, 2014 6:53 pm Hi bugman, As I’ve been traveling around the US for the past year, I’ve been able to identify quite a lot of my “new roommates” through your great web resource here. (Thanks!) It’s been a fun and comforting challenge to observe, document, and identify each diverse creature that I’ve come across. Currently, I’m in the Virgin Islands (so, although it is winter season, the temperatures still range from about 74-84 degrees right now). This little guy appears to be a thread-waisted wasp to me, but just wanted to seek your expert opinion. I’m new to the area, but I’ve seen a few of them in my apartment over the past couple days, and I definitely didn’t think it was a wasp at first just because they are a much smaller size than I usually associate with wasps. I also have quite a funny group of case-bearing cloth larva living here as well, and I see the signs of termites here, but have yet to spot any individual termites. So, there are lots of friends! 🙂 Signature: Rachel Hi Rachel, This Ensign Wasp really is your friend. The female Ensign Wasp lays her eggs on the ootheca or egg case of a Cockroach, and the larval wasp eats the eggs and developing nymphs of the Cockroach, helping to control the Cockroach populations in homes. The abdomen of the Ensign Wasp bobs up and down as it moves about, much like the action of signalling with a flag, hence the common name. Daniel, thank you! Very nice news to hear about the ensign wasp helping to control the cockroach population. I appreciate your help in identifying it! 🙂 Have a great February! Rachel
Letter 17 – Ensign Wasps found dead
Subject: New Bug Location: South Florida, USA July 22, 2017 1:53 pm Hi, I live in Miami Florida and have lived in my current house for six years. In the last two months I have started to see this type of bug dead around my house. Probably about ten of them in various places dead on the floor. Yesterday I saw what I thought was a dead one and when I went to push it aside to pick up later it started running around very quickly, not flying. Upon closer look it has wings which I was very surprised about. I haven’t seen it fly, just dead ones and this one running. It is summer here and I do not have pets. What is it please, thank you! Signature: Marc Dear Marc, This is a beneficial Ensign Wasp. They are parasitoids that lay eggs on the ootheca or egg cases of Cockroaches, helping to control Cockroach populations. If you are finding them dead, we suspect some pesticide is being used in your home to control unwanted insect populations.
Letter 18 – Ensign Wasp from Lebanon
Subject: Bug identification Geographic location of the bug: lebanon Date: 10/18/2017 Time: 10:05 AM EDT I just need to know the bug so I can tell my pest control company How you want your letter signed: I don’t This is an Ensign Wasp, a species that parasitizes the ootheca or egg sac of Cockroaches, helping to control their populations.