Digger wasp on Long Island property - get digger wasp facts from the experts at Suburban Exterminating

The presence of wasps can make your outdoor space uninviting. But these aren’t your typical wasps. These are digger wasps, or as they’re sometimes called, ground wasps. They build their nests in the ground, so they tend to stay low as a way of protecting their eggs and also as a means of detecting food. This is good for the wasps, but not if you’re cutting your grass or trying to have a picnic!

As with most stinging insects, ground wasps are mainly interested in survival and propagation. Most of their lives are spent building nests, gathering food, or creating offspring. If you see a digger wasp flying around, it’s likely on the hunt for something to eat. However, many people become alarmed by their presence when they build nests by burrowing in lawns, flowerbeds, and gardens.

Read on to learn more digger wasp facts with these frequently asked questions, including their unique behavior, and what kind of threat they pose.

Why Are They Called “Digger Wasps”?

Digger wasps are called such due to their digging behavior. Their favorite habitat is a self-dug tunnel in the dirt between the cover of grass and plants – although they’ll also settle for any unoccupied space in mulch, pine straw, or other similar organic material. In some cases, ground wasps may even burrow into the gap below your sidewalk or driveway or the cement joints of your house. Once they’ve constructed a suitable nest in these areas, digger wasp females will lay their eggs.

What Do Digger Wasps Look Like?

These large wasps have a rusty red head with a black and yellow striped abdomen. They grow to over two inches long, and their wings are yellowish. Digger wasps are sometimes covered in a metallic sheen ranging in color from dull black or brown to brilliant red, yellow, or blue.

Do Digger Wasps Sting Humans?

Yes, it’s possible to get stung by a digger wasp or step on one. However, these large wasps rarely sting unless threatened. Ground wasp stings hurt on a similar level to bee stings. It’s not pleasant, but the good news is that for most people, the risk of complications is minimal. 

But in the rare case that you do find yourself experiencing extreme pain, shortness of breath, other allergic reactions, or any other unusual symptoms, seek medical help right away.

Only females have stingers, but the good news is that they’re not aggressive. They mainly keep to themselves, foraging and preparing to lay eggs, unless you force them to defend. Male digger wasps, unlike females, don’t have stingers. However, unlike females, they can be aggressive and territorial. If you go into their space, male digger wasps may try to go after you. 

Are Digger Wasps Dangerous?

Digger wasps are not very dangerous, but a lot of homeowners are alarmed to find them burrowing in their lawns, flowerbeds, and gardens. Like other bees and wasps, they will only sting if provoked.

Ground wasp stingers contain a small amount of venom, but it’s worth remembering that only female digger wasps have stingers, and it’s rare for them to sting humans. They mainly use the venom in their stingers to paralyze prey.

Are Digger Wasps Social or Solitary?

Yes, digger wasps are a part of the solitary wasp family, which means that if you leave them alone, they’ll leave you alone too. You might see them in Suffolk County & Nassau County because the adults emerge in the spring to mate and build their nests. They dig holes to form a burrow and then hunt for cicadas. Burrows are most commonly found in ornamental beds or under trees or tall foliage plants where there are areas of bare soil.

One of the reasons you may have noticed so many nests in your yard and around your home is that they each operate independently of one another. To keep people away, these wasps appear to “dive-bomb” when people approach their nests. Ground wasps are relatively rare among stinging insects because they’re solitary creatures. 

Why Are Digger Wasps Difficult to Detect?

Digger wasps are difficult to detect because, like most infestations, they don’t appear all at once. They can be especially difficult to detect during their first year after they arrive in your yard. But they can quickly multiply. And since they never use the same nest more than once, their tunnels and tiny mud homes can create soil issues and become an eyesore. 

It isn’t uncommon for yards in our area to experience an influx of ground wasps in the thousands after several years without intervention. If you’ve spotted a dozen nests in your yard, you have that many digger wasps. The problem is it’s difficult to see them all, so you undoubtedly have many more than the ones you’ve spotted.

How Can I Prevent Digger Wasps?

One of the most effective ways to prevent digger wasps is to keep up with your lawn care. They just can’t burrow into a thick covering of grass. You’ll need to fertilize, water, and plant extra grass seed to maintain a healthy lawn and keep these nasty insects away. If ground wasps are digging holes in your planting beds, put down landscape fabric and mulch. Also, you could add a layer of fine gravel. 

Wasps appear year after year unless treated – which is why expert pest control is the best way to prevent digger wasps on your property. 

Ground Wasp Removal in Long Island

Because wasps are known to sting, if a nest is discovered, a professional should be called right away to remove it. This is where Suburban Exterminating stands ready to protect you, your family, and your property. Our team of residential pest control experts has years of experience dealing with digger wasps. We know where to find them and how to eliminate them from your yard, and the exterior of your home, and keep them from coming back. 

With warmer months coming, you need pest control experts you can count on to make sure your yard isn’t overtaken. Call us today to put our team to work for you!

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