Few things make your outdoor space less inviting than the presence of wasps. One minute you and your family are enjoying being outside together and the next second your kids are scrambling and you’re looking for something – anything really – to swing at an unwelcome backyard intruder. There’s certainly a role for your pest control provider here, but before you call your exterminator, let’s learn a little more about diggers wasps, their unique behavior, and what kind of threats they pose.
1. They’re named after their digging behavior.In some instances, digger wasps will settle for space in and among mulch or pine straw, although they prefer to dig a tunnel in the dirt or between the cover of grass and plants. They’ll even take a gap below your sidewalk or driveway, or in the cement joints of your house with the help of mud and dirt. These are important spaces for digger wasps because this is where they will make a nest and lay their eggs.
2. Females have stingers but are not aggressive.
If you’re unwilling to get close enough to these wasps to differentiate between male and female, we don’t blame you! Just know that females are the only ones with stingers, and rarely if ever will they initiate aggressive behavior. They mainly keep to themselves, and – unless provoked – stick to foraging for food and preparing to lay eggs.
3. Males don’t have stingers but are aggressive.
You knew there had to be a catch, didn’t you? The good news is they cannot hurt you, but that’s impossible for you to know at that moment. For most of us, the presence of a wasp indicates a risk of being stung. Male digger wasps are very territorial and go after anything – from bees and other male wasps to humans – that comes into their space.
4. They fly low to the ground.
Because they tend to build their nests in the ground, digger wasps stay close to home as a way of protecting their eggs, but primarily as a means of detecting food. These wasps feed on grubs and larvae, and there’s no better way to find those than by flying low to the ground. This is good for the wasps, but not if you’re cutting your grass or trying to have a picnic!
5. Females inspect their tunnels before bringing captured prey inside.
Hovering around your lawn looking for food is only the first step. Once the female wasp has secured and paralyzed her prey, she brings it back to the tunnel victoriously. But before taking it inside, the female digger wasp will inspect the tunnel to make sure nothing is amiss. Whether it’s an intruder or a collapsed tunnel, she performs a quick inspection to make sure she isn’t walking into a trap.
6. Digger wasps are solitary.
One of the reasons you may have noticed so many nests in your yard and around your home is because they each operate independently of one another. If you’ve spotted a dozen nests, 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.
7. Some eat small insects; others eat pollen.
Depending on what is readily available in your yard, digger wasps have a little diversity in their diets. Although some, as we mentioned, eat small bugs and larvae, others will feast on pollen. This is especially true in the spring as flowers begin to bloom. At first glance, you may think you’re looking at a bee but it’s actually a digger wasp.
8. They’re difficult to detect the first year in your yard.
Like most infestations, digger wasps don’t arrive all at once. In their first year in your yard, you may only spot a few, and even then, only rarely. 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 for your yard and become an eyesore on your home. It isn’t uncommon for yards in our area to experience an influx of digger wasps in the thousands after several years without intervention.
This is where Suburban Exterminating stands ready to protect you, your family, and your property. Our team of pest control professionals have years of experience dealing with these wasps. We know where to find them and how to eliminate them from your yard, the exterior of your home, and keep them from coming back. With warmer months just weeks away, 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!