Few North American wasps are as conspicuous as the Great Black Wasp, Sphex pensylvanicus. This all-black insect with violet reflections on its wings is so large as to sometimes be mistaken for a tarantula hawk wasp. Males average 22 millimeters in body length, while females are about 28 millimeters (up to 35 mm) and more robust.
This is also a common and widespread species, ranging from southeast Canada to northern Mexico, and as far west as southern California. It is absent from the Pacific Northwest, and while I lived in Arizona for a decade, I did not encounter this species there, either. It is perhaps most abundant along forest edges in deciduous woodlands, sumac thickets, gardens, and fields with scattered trees.
Habitat preference is governed by the need for the adult wasps to find flower nectar to fuel their flight; and for females to find katydid prey. Milkweed (Asclepias spp.), thoroughworts (Eupatorium spp.), mountain mint (Pycnanthemum spp.), buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), camphorweed (Pluchea spp.), Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium), White Sweet Clover (Melilotus alba), and goldenrod (Solidago spp.) are among this wasp’s favorite rest stops. Females dig burrows in soft soil, usually in sheltered spots such as the dirt floors of abandoned barns or other outbuildings.
Though they are solitary, several females may nest in close proximity to one other. Each burrow is an angled tunnel about an inch in diameter and over one foot long. At the end of the burrow is a chamber from which other cells are added over time. The female leaves the nest entrance open while she goes about finding katydids. Her prey can be enormous. Adult Greater Angle-wing Katydids (Microcentrum rhombifolium) can be 52-63 millimeters long and are quite heavy. The Lesser Angle-wing Katydid (M. retinerve) is another prey species, as is Scudderia furcata, the Fork-tailed Bush Katydid. An average of three paralyzed katydids goes into each cell in the nest, a single egg being laid on the first of those victims.
The wasp larva that hatches from the egg feeds and grows for about ten days, eventually reaching a length of 30-35 millimeters, and a diameter of 7-10 millimeters. Larval insects are almost always larger than the adult stage because so much energy is spent in the pupal stage. The larva probably passes the winter in a pre-pupal state, pupating the following spring and then emerging in summer.
Female Great Black Wasps are incredibly successful at finding katydids. One field researcher, Reverend John A. Frisch of Woodstock College in Maryland plugged the nest entrances in one aggregation. The result was 252 katydids piled up in only five days. That worked out to an average of nearly 17 katydids per wasp per day (Evans, 1963). The wasps fly with that heavy load, too.
Hauling a large, heavy katydid back to the nest can attract unwanted attention, and one entomologist in Rhode Island observed House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) and, to a lesser degree, Gray Catbirds (Dumetella carolinensis) intercepting female wasps and relieving them of their paralyzed prey. As many as one-third of return trips by all the female wasps observed ended this way: empty-handed (Benntinen & Preisser, 2009).
The adult wasps themselves can be parasitized by Paraxenos westwoodi, one of the insects called stylopids or “twisted-wing parasites.” Wasps that have deformities of the abdominal segments, often with a bullet-like capsule or two protruding between segments, are victims of stylopids.
An interesting piece of historical trivia is that this species was the first insect subject of a paper by a naturalist native to North America. Observations of the Great Black Wasp by John Bartram (Philadelphia) were presented to the Royal Society (Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge) by Peter Collinson in 1749. The species was not officially described until 1763 by Carl Linnaeus.
Sources: Benntinen, Justin and Evan Preisser. 2009. “Avian kleptoparasitism of the digger wasp Sphex pensylvanicus,” Can. Ent. 141(6): 604-608.
Evans, Howard E. 1963. Wasp Farm. Ithaca, NY: Comstock Publishing Associates (Cornell University Press). 178 pp.
Nice post Eric! I've grown fond of these wasps since the summer, when I was finding many of them. They seem to like hanging around Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica)flowers as well.ReplyDelete
Thank you for the compliment! Yes, I forgot about Japanese Knotweed, perhaps optimistically so :-)Delete
Hi Eric, I just got back from the hospital because of a what looked exactly like the Big Black Wasp. It was in my little dome tent. I didn't see it until it was on the top of my hand. I watched it insert a long tubular beak coming from it's face into my skin! I'm in Eugene,Oregon and live in the Wetlands. My entire hand and forearm are super painful, red and swollen! Neither Benadryl, topical analgesic or Lavender worked to ease my discomfort. I even had a slice of onion on it to pull out the poison. Dr. Sent me home with Keflex, Prednisone and a mild pain killer.Delete
Hi, my husband was also stung twice by one of these great black wasps. We were riding in our woods on our ATV and it flew into my husband and stung him on the hand as he swat and we guess when he swat it, it came close to his inner knee and stung him there. Nothing gave him relief. They were painful stings and lasted for hours. Swelling and aches from the stings stayed around for over a month. I, nor my husband like them one bit. I am great full to know what their name is now.Delete
They particularly love my mountain mint. Will they sting humans?ReplyDelete
Hi, Diane! The females are certainly capable of stinging, but you have to literally molest one to get it feeling threatened enough to deploy its stinger. Plus, males (which are anatomically incapable of stinging) are far more common at flowers in my experience. Females are busy digging nests and hunting katydids.Delete
I had to post a comment because I just discovered these wasps in my garden today; I'd never seen them before. I live in the Pacific Northwest (Medford, OR)- was surprised to read that they are supposed to be absent here. One of these beauties was enormous - about the length of my little finger - and I saw 2 others that were a bit smaller. I had to find out what kind of wasp they are and my search led me here. Great informative post! I am a first year beekeeper and am frequently out observing them, and the bumble bees, in the yard, that's how I discovered the Great Black Wasps. How exciting that they are here!ReplyDelete
Stephanie: You may have a different wasp altogether. I'd love to see an image of what you are talking about, and learn what kind of prey it is bringing in. I'm thinking it is a species of Palmodes, or even Prionyx, rather than the subject of this blog post. I lived in Oregon the first 27 years of my life and never saw a Great Black Wasp there, either.Delete
the description fits closely to a smaller black wasp we have here in oregon. grants pass. about 30 mi from medford. same description down to the oil sheen on black wings. just seems smaller. so perhaps a subspecies of some kind?Delete
Hi, Jed. I grew up in Oregon, and I think you are most likely describing one of the Podalonia species of cutworm wasps. I have done a couple of posts here on Podalonia. They are very common in the western U.S.Delete
I hate these wasp they continue to build those mud nest in every thing in my shop including my car and mowers they have cost me much time and money for repairs. i once had to partly disassemble my boat engine because of a nest in the water jacket.Delete
Eric I have these wasps under the deck of my front door, they have never bitten anyone and my family has learned to just walk by them or ignore them but when people come to the front door it is pretty scary to be swarmed by these big black wasps. Every year we seem to get more and more and they love the Minnesota sun in July. Any ideas on how to get them to move on or move out? NancyBReplyDelete
I'm sorry, Nancy, but my business is not to suggest "pest control" for what are essentially harmless insects. Unless you physically grab a female wasp, you are not going to get stung. Period. The wasps use landmarks to locate their nests, and are circling the guests at your door because they interpret the people as new landmarks (or the wasps are simply disoriented by the sudden appearance of a person).Delete
Hello Eric, as with nancy I have seen a wasp that looks a lot like this one, as far as if it is or is not I will give you what I can. I may be able to find the body of the wasp. We can't take risks, allergies. But I noticed it when it flew into a small hole in the inside of my hose reel for storring the garden hose. It was carrying a long piece of dryed grass. This wasp was much larger than the normal wasps I get . I would guess about 2/3ds larger.Delete
Fred, what you are describing is a "grass-carrier" wasp, same family as the Great Black Wasp, but different genus and different nesting behavior. Here's one of my blog posts about them: http://bugeric.blogspot.com/2011/02/wasp-wednesday-more-on-isodontia.htmlDelete
We are trying to identify a huge black flying bug and it looks a lot like the Great Wasp, and it lives in a crevice in our garage. We noticed one, now it seems we have 3. It's living in a small hole in the corner of the garage where the garage door meets the ground. Do you think this is a Great Wasp or some other type based on what I've noted. I have not seen it bring back food of any type so far.Delete
Took me awhile to find your comment since it was in a "reply" to someone else's comment....I honestly don't know. "Huge" is relative, so it could be a Blue Mud Dauber I suppose, or maybe a *male* Great Black Wasp that is simply roosting there. I'd have to see it myself to be able to say for certain.Delete
If these wasps are not in the Pacific Northwesr why do you suppose I found one in my garden, in the Bamboo with an ant on it's stinger? I live on the pennisula in NW Washington state.ReplyDelete
Hi, Debra: I imagine you probably found a different kind of wasp altogether. In my response to Stephanie Gentry above, I suggested she might have seen a Palmodes wasp instead....Ants will antagonize wasps that visit aphid colonies they are guarding. The ants will also scavenge dead insects, even very large ones.Delete
Hi Eric - I live in Bellevue (suburb of Omaha, I see you're coming to visit the zoo - it is AWESOME, so enjoy yourself), and this afternoon one of these wasps must have gotten trapped in my garage and buzzed in past me into the basement. Not knowing if it was going to sting me, I've pretty much left it alone. The lights are out down there now so no idea where it is. I will be using the treadmill down there in the morning (it is too hot and humid to run outside) and I'm wondering if this wasp will be trying to find it's way outside. I'd love to help it, but it's a bug.... and it could hurt me or the dogs.... suggestions that will save us all a little hurt? :-) Thanks!ReplyDelete
Hi, Kelley! Most insects trapped indoors fly to light, so if you have a window or windows in your basement, it will fly to those. Then just put a glass or other transparent container over the insect and slip a card between bug and the window, trapping the insect inside the container. Then you can release it outdoors. That said, this species is in no danger of going extinct, so if you must kill it, then don't feel *too* guilty.Delete
Greetings! I found one of these lovely, iridescent blue-black babies hanging around on the white goosefoot (Chenopodium Album) outside my back door (Milan, MI). It was terrifying my children (ages 5 and 3) so they wouldn't use the door. I looked it up and happened upon your page! Thanks for the great information! We're all pleased to learn it won't sting us, but big, black flying things are scary nonetheless!ReplyDelete
I'm going to try removing the plant it seems to favor (there's a bunch elsewhere in the yard) to see if the wasp hangs out around the door less. I'm sure her nest is somewhere in the crumbling cinderblock wall of our small porch right there, so she probably won't go TOO far, but if we can get in and out of the door without a two-inch wasp in our faces, that'd be lovely. :)
Just discovered these burrowing under my house in Upstate South Carolina. Any reason to be concerned ?ReplyDelete
Hi, June. No reason for concern. Just don't disturb them for the week, more or less, that they need to nest. You wouldn't likely get stung anyway, but locations suitable for nesting are sometimes hard to come by for solitary wasps and bees.Delete
i found what ai think are black wasps in my house today, and i dont know what to do to get them out, its daytime so i cant just turn off all the lights, and im scared to kill them because there has to be like 6 to 10 of them on my ceiling, please helpReplyDelete
You do not indicate a geographic location, but I would bet you are describing the Blue Mud Dauber, which sometimes nests in attics and can find its way downstairs from there. Please find someone who can vacuum them up, or usher them into containers to be released outdoors. Since they are solitary, you won't get stung unless you actually grab one (and it is likely to fly away before you could do that anyway). Please refrain from chemical sprays in the interest of your own health, and that of your family and pets. I'd happily help personally were it possible to be all places at once.Delete
Thank you for this wonderful description. I just saw one of these huge Great Black Wasps tenderly sipping nectar from butterfly weed (a type of milkweed) in my garden. I live in Rhode Island. We have nesting house sparrows and mockingbirds in the yard. I can't wait to see the birds steal a katydid from the wasp, I'll be on lookout. I just hope I'm not too close to become entangled. Thanks again. I've never seen one of these wasps before, and now I know all about it.ReplyDelete
Thank you for the kind words; and, you're welcome!Delete
Would you consider it safe to leave them alone if these black hornets have built a nest up inside of the wall/ceiling at the entryway to our back porch? We can't see the nest without taking the ceiling apart. I don't want to spray or kill them, but I don't want the nest to grow and multiply over the summer and winter until we have a serious problem on our hands.ReplyDelete
You are describing some other kind of wasp. The Great Black Wasp is solitary and nests in the ground, not between walls or in attics.Delete
Great Black Wasps were the subject of my August 'Nature of Merrickville' column in the local monthly. Your blog and Scilog were among my sources. I saw my first Great Blacks in the last week -- near Bishop's Mills Ontario and at Montebello in western Quebec. Talk about HUGE!! My article assured folks that they were not aggressive and also described Ichneumonidae, as another example of fascinating parasatoid wasps. I was a bug-fearing kid (and adult) and terrified of spiders. If anyone had told me that I would grow up to be The Bug Lady, I'd have laughed in their faces. But it was the specialization of wasps that got me interested, the truth about when spiders bite that calmed my phobia and the fine teachings of many mentors (the likes of thee), when I began teaching at a nature museum, that propelled me in this direction. My thanks to you and your kin for my new-found love of insects.
Wow, I am not sure I've ever been paid a higher compliment. Thank you so much!Delete
Just found a set of nests right by my backyard gate in NJ. There are nearly a dozen holes, but I'm finding more around the property everyday now that I know what to look for. We realized that they are docile and can walk right over them, but any idea how to encourage future generations to move on? I don't mind their presence, just not directly underfoot which scaressentially the kids and excited the dog.ReplyDelete
There is no guarantee they will nest again there next year. Did you see them last year? Also, pretty sure soil composition and texture dictates where they can nest. Unless you want to replace *that*, not sure you can easily dissuade them from nesting where they will. That said, I empathize with your dilemma.Delete
We didn't see them at all last year, though my neighbor just told me that he's had them for years in a rocky section of his yard. And while we have a lot of clay in our soil, there's no way we'll try to replace it. Our neighborhood is mostly wooded and "pests" are just part of the fun.Delete
Thank you so much for the information. We are from Michigan. We have been fascinated by two of these for over a week. We never knew we had this many katydids on our 10 acres! They keep bringing them back like little troopers. Today we noticed that the one entrance (under a good sized rock) wasn't having the normal activity. We looked in and found a fat toad sitting there!. Would he have eaten the wasp? Thanks again.ReplyDelete
I wouldn't put it past a toad to eat *any*thing. LOL! That said, the wasp could also have finished her nest and the toad came afterwards. Thank you so much for sharing your story! I live for this kind of feedback, especially from folks who are observant and express their awe as you have here. Made my day. :-)Delete
I was stung by one of these last year. About 3 times by the same little wasp, and damn it hurts. Was out riding my scooter when I felt like I was shot in the stomach twice. Figured I could just ride it off till I got home (about 1/4 mile), but after the third sting.....absolutely not. Had to pull over and when I lifted my shirt he went flying off. The sting didn't swell a whole lot, but hurt a million times more than a paper wasp or a honey bee sting. I have been stung a couple more times sense then (all while out riding). They don't seem to be aggressive, but if they get under your shirt while out riding they will sting you and damn it hurts.ReplyDelete
I am sorry you had this experience! The Great Black Wasp is a very large insect, so I wonder if it was not another kind of wasp that got you.Delete
My daughter got stung on 3 days ago by what I believe to be a great black wasp. It was on her school bus and must have attached itself to her bookbag or jacket. When she got home and took off her bookbag and jacket it stung her in the forearm. It was just after she was stung I saw the wasp crawling on the couch behind her. It was over an inch in length and all black. She had very little reaction to the sting. In fact, there was no swelling or redness that evening. However the following day she had redness and swelling in an area the size of a lemon. The second day, the swelling and redness increased from her elbow to wrist. Today it is extended to her finger tips and past her elbow. I took her to the doctor and she has serum sickness. I am just wondering if it could be something other than a great black wasp. Are there any other insects that look just like a great black wasp?ReplyDelete
Oh, dear. Well, first, my sincerest wishes for your daughter's full and speedy recovery. There are certainly many species of wasps similar to the Great Black Wasp, so without seeing the specimen, or at least an image, I can't say one way or the other. You don't give a geographic location, either, so for all I know this happened in Peru....One thing for sure: reaction to stings often has more to do with a given individual's immune system reaction than the venom composition of the insect. I would ask the doctor for advice on first aid for future stings to mitigate potentially dangerous reactions.Delete
Sorry I forgot to tell you my location. I live in Pennsylvania. I wish I had a picture to show you. I could only describe it as about 1.5 inches in length, completely black, and very long legs.Delete
Could easily be this wasp....but as I said previously, I can't be certain without seeing the specimen.Delete
We live in the middle of a hundred acre farm in NW Ohio. That's a lot of loose dirt! On our farm we have a half acre vegetable garden and tons of perennial and annual flowers so I could see where these wasps could really be helpful. BUT recently we attached an outdoor shower to our home and I'm not sure if that stirred them up or what because we have about 30-40 swarming around our front porch. They may not be the exact same ones because we've seen them going in and out of paper nests under the soffit of our porch and dormers. We have knocked those down. But they seem too small to house so many wasps! We can't really determine where they all are coming from and what to do with them. We have to do something because we have grandchildren that are coming soon and we literally can not use our front porch because there are so many of them swarming around! My question is, is there an extremely large shiny black wasp that builds paper nests in NW Ohio? It's not a mud dobber I've had those before. And how can I move them without killing them? How can I find their nest?ReplyDelete
Debbie, thanks for reaching me through AllExperts as well, and for including the images that prove conclusively that what you have are Blue Mud Dauber wasps, Chalybion californicum. The males congregate to "sleep" together overnight in some nook or other sheltered spot. Male wasps don't sting, so no worries.Delete
I think this is what i saw entering under my siding in MN, does that make sense?ReplyDelete
That sounds more like a grass-carrier wasp (Isodontia sp.) or a Blue Mud Dauber (Chalybion californicum). Great Black Wasp nests in the ground, and would not be crawling under siding even to hunt katydids.Delete
I must say I have never been a big bug fan. I've always had an innate fear of all flying bugs, and as I've never been stung, a built in radar for bees and wasps.
Tonight I met the Great Black Wasp. It landed on my leg. I did my usual hysterical dance, it fell off my leg, and before I knew it I had stepped on it.
I had never seen anything so large, so close to me. Then I noticed it was carrying a giant katydid which was at least 63 mm.
It was all new to me. The only big bug I've seen close up was a giant black grasshopper back home in Alabama. Here in South Bend, Indiana, it's usually beesness as usual.
I then did some research on this glorious wasp. I truly regret that I got in the way of her task of getting that katydid to her nest.
Thank you for such a wonderful introduction to a wasp I think I can actually bee friends with.
Dee: Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am always delighted to hear this kind of thing. I often think I am making little difference, so thanks for letting me know I have an impact. :-)Delete
They have been terrifying me for almost a week before I stumbled across your blog today. I was pretty sure this was the species but after finding two alive (sedated) katydids at the entrance to our barn, my suspicions are confirmed. So happy to know these are a bunch of essentially single moms looking to rear some young in my horse barn, and that they are not aggressive. Boy they look intimidating!! I have a bunch of holes in the barn floor (millings), a substrate which they obviously find irresistable because my efforts have not been successful to have them vacate the barn completely, but merely to relocate!ReplyDelete
Christie, thank you so much for sharing your story. "Single moms" they truly are! What a great way to put it. Thank you also for your tolerance, and efforts to identify your "guests." You help restore my faith in humanity. :-)Delete
In Chicago, facing Lake Michigan, and six stories up, we have what look to me like Great Black Wasps. But, rather than katydid, these wasps seem to be harvesting spiders. Since we have plenty of spiders, it's quite helpful.ReplyDelete
Do you think these are actually Great Black Wasps, or merely close relatives?
Definitely *not* Great Black Wasps if they are going after spiders, and nesting on a building. Mud daubers, Sceliphron caementarium, Chalybion californicum, and Trypoxylon politum should all be in your area, so it could be any one of those.Delete
I do a lot of container gardening every summer so I'm outside a lot. The past few days I've seen this large flying black creature entering and exiting a half inch crack in my concrete patio. Came in this evening and typed in horse fly. That wasn't it so I tried big black wasp. Bingo! I planted a lot of different plants to attract pollinators. White clover and milkweed. This wasp also likes the hibiscus-like flowers on okra. I'm glad to know this wasp is harmless as I have an epi-pen with me every time I go outside. I know enough not to mess with wasps. In fact there are a lot of them in my garden. I've even had them land on me and I freeze and they leave cause I don't have any pollen. I'll enjoy watching this making it's nest. How long do you think it will be around? I live in SE TN. So glad I found your post.
Hi, Anne! Well, since you have made your property so hospitable to other creatures, I suspect your big black wasp will be around for at least the next few days to finish *this* nest, then maybe start another one elsewhere in your yard. Thank you for the kind compliments!Delete
Every morning,and throughout the day, I have multiple wasps, that I believe to be great blacks, in my garage. They congregate on the window of an access door, which I open and then 'scoot' them out. There seems to be a never ending supply as this has been going on for some time. I live in Buffalo, MN. Any idea why this is. Thanks, RoyReplyDelete
I think what you have is a harmless, nightly congregation of male Blue Mud Dauber wasps, Chalybion californicum. They are known for this behavior. Nice of you to escort them out. The female wasps hunt spiders as food for their offspring, but they usually don't join the males at night, sleeping by themselves in most cases.Delete
I found one with a nest in my driveway. I have a lot of milkweeds and katydids around. It appears to be a lot bigger than the reported average size. I'm estimating it is about 5-6 cm! Is that crazy? I can try to get a photo or grab a dead wasp. I don't want to capture or disturb a welcome ecosystem resident.ReplyDelete
Great website and informative thread!
I have been skimming dead katydid from the pool, and picking them up off tbe deck. Noticed the very big black wasps today,they have decided to call the cracks around the pool stairs home. With the kids and dogs going in and out so far we've been lucky, no stings. It's just a really bad spot for them. Any ideas?ReplyDelete
The wasps probably won't be active for much longer. Just encourage the kids to watch their step. Don't know what to tell you about the dogs. Unless somebody or a dog steps on a wasp, the likelihood of stings is almost zero. These are NOT like yellowjackets.Delete
Can Great Black wasps nest on the ground? Because an hour ago my daughter stepped on one.ReplyDelete
As it says in the blog post, "Females dig burrows in soft soil,...." I am sorry if your child was stung, that is very unusual.Delete
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You say they aren't typically in Oregon. However, I have been seeing a black wasp carry large green grasshoppers/crickets into the ground by my front walk. There appear to be 3 nests, about 2 feet a part from each other. The wasps never bug (see what I did there) us, and only seem to bring back crickets. I looked up cutworm wasps and these wasps are much bigger than those. It's the first time I have ever seen them. We live in a Portland suburb.ReplyDelete
One of these flew into my home as i was picking up my pizza. I have had a very traumatic experience as a child when it comes to wasps. You say that they will not sting me if i do not touch them right?ReplyDelete
I think I may have these in western Nebraska in my plum tree would that be accurate?ReplyDelete
Quite possibly, on the flowers or hunting for katydids on the trees.Delete
seen them here hunting for prey, beautifulDelete
Have seen these big black beauties here twice hunting in garden area. Love wasps in general though deadly allergic to their stings. Sadly have to kill them in shed and on porch. Cannot risk being stung. But in gardens we let them be, and any nests in ground on in trees can stay. I find in garden most are not aggressive, I have learned to not wear bright colors in the garden. Red vehicles also bad. Love to learn about them. Just have seen them hunting, with awe. Note-my former neighbor used to pull the business end of big brown wasps from her hummingbird feeder with her bare 80 year old hands. I would watch her out the window thinking you have giant balls.ReplyDelete
How long does the paralysis work on the grasshopper and does it eventually wear off if not eaten? Can the grasshopper live after being stung?ReplyDelete
We have seen an uptick in grasshopper population over the last week (Scottsdale AZ). I know this is a poor outcome but I believe my roommate got one with his shoe against the house exterior wall (by the patio light at night). He said it was walking up the wall verrrrry slow. Not sure if you can make out what’s left of it but curious if it fits the bill. Happy to email you a saved pic I took.ReplyDelete
We have a group of wasps that swarm our rhubarb for a week that look similar to this but have bright orange hind feet. Could they still be great black wasps? We are in southern wisconsinReplyDelete
If you would ever be willing to talk with me I would greatly appreciate it. I have a crippling phobia of wasps and hornets and it get worse every year. I was attacked my a nest as a child raking in my grandparents yard in Maine and my anxiety is crippling my quality of life...I am a lover of animals and nature, the past few summers I’ve identified the great black wasp outside my In ground pool in the cracks of the cement. It’s getting to the point I can’t even be out there anymore because they are constantly flying in and out of the cracks/pool area often with prey. I am educated in psychology and have tried hypnosis and therapy to get past this phobia but nothing has worked...I feel like talking with someone like you, who has a love, knowledge and appreciation for these beings could possibly help. I’m so sorry to write this as I understand it seems silly to most people but it often debilitates my every day happiness.ReplyDelete
Tracy, you are entitled to peaceful enjoyment of your home just like mot beings who are territorial. It’s your home!Delete
I would recommend seeing a psychologist for phobia therapy if fear of wasps is compromising your daily life. I want to emphasize that I do not consider phobias to be a "mental illness," and that I have empathy for you.Delete
These wasps have been nesting under my deck which leads to a patio for the past few years. I could not figure why they kept coming back until reading your post that larvae pre pupate over the winter and mature the following year. In any event there are so many coming and going now as to become a real nuisance and make the patioReplyDelete
unusable. I know you say stings are rare but they are too upsetting. I have screened off the openings to the underside of the deck. My question is, will I have to keep the screening up over the winter to prevent a new “vintage” from emerging next year.
I have no control over what you do on your own property, but I stand by the assertion that unless you step on one in bare feet, you are not going to get stung, nor is anyone else. Meanwhile, "real estate" for wasps is diminishing as we pave over and plow under their natural nesting sites. You have a unique and important circumstance there, and I hope you will continue to recognize and celebrate that.Delete
Thanks for the info! We have seen multiple Great Black Wasps in our yard and have yet to have an issue. We are also happy to have pollinators in our yard. However, we have had problems with Paper Wasps and had a nest last year under our porch roof (which we would like to avoid in the future). I am afraid to put out a commercial wasp trap as I don't want to harm the Black Wasps. Will they be attracted to the trap?ReplyDelete
No, a wasp trap will not attract the Great Black Wasps. It should only be attracting yellowjackets (Vespula spp), so I am surprised if it solved your paper wasp (Polistes spp) problem.Delete
I recently caught one of these in Central New York. It was in my bedroom and buzzing in the window. I agree with Eric that these bugs are not aggressive and easily captured. The one I have is a large female, roughly 1.5 inch, around the size of local Cicada Wasps.Delete
Hi - I am in the UK - I found a wasp very similar today - it was trying to get out through a shut window so I freed it. It definitely looks like the image -are you aware of any in the UK please?ReplyDelete
From Upper Michigan been stung over ten years total of 5 times last time twice. Through a tall thick sock. Ended up with anaphylactic reaction. Any information on whats in the female’s venom? UofM might be able to assist as well, but 44 years of living up here and that’s never happened before. Would be helpful to know what neurotoxins are present in Female Solitary Wasp venom. Especially the Great Black Wasp. So far I’ve heard the venom composition is similar to a Black a Mamba.ReplyDelete