Good morning -
I have been reading several articles about ground wasps. I was surprised to read an article about the killer cicada wasps in the northeast. I guess I didn’t realize we had cicadas up here. That led me to believe that cicada wasps may not be what I have.
Thank you for your solution regarding ground wasps. I have been seeing several holes in my lawn and I thought perhaps skunks were digging for grubs, etc. However, when mowing the lawn yesterday I saw a small wasp’s nest in the ground in one of the holes. It amazed me because it looks like the hives you find in higher elevations like in the eaves of my house! The hive was totally exposed to the elements. Do you think this is the same type of wasp you are talking about in your article? Do you think the wasps are making all the holes in my lawn? There do not appear to be any mounds of dirt near the sites. Thank you in advance for your time to answer my questions.
There are many species of wasps that readily nest in the ground. Though many of these wasps are solitary or loners, several social species make nests like the ones commonly seen on overhangs and under decks. These nests are akin to paper wasp nests and typically are made in soil that is above water level or where excessive water won’t flood it during a good rain. So to answer your first question; it could be a paper wasp nest but it’s most likely a closely related cousin.
Since there are so many wasps that commonly dig in the yard, it’s hard for me to say just what species is doing the other digging. It could be all the same species but it’s most likely several different types of wasps. They will commonly nest in similar locations so it’s not uncommon to find lawns covered with holes and literally thousands of wasps all digging their own holes and nest cavities. Though most aren’t aggressive, you need to be careful when walking around their territories. Some will become defensive and all can sting. In most cases people get stung because they go outside barefoot and inadvertently step on a nest. Pets and children are exceptionally vulnerable as they will many times come in contact with them and not realize they can get stung. And don’t expect to see mud piles or dirt hills from their extraction; most will smooth out the dirt or it will quickly get washed away with the rain or if you water the lawn. Unlike worm castings, there is not “glue” or internal fluids to keep the dirt together. Many times it’s so fine when it gets to the surface a slight breeze can blow it away.
If you decide to do something about this wasp problem you can review all our products listed in our DIGGER WASP PRODUCTS page. The CYFLUTHRIN GRANULES sprayed with ESFENVALERATE works great and usually knocks out the problem pretty quickly. We also have have ORGANIC GRUB KILLER which has proven to work on anything digging holes in the yard though it won’t provide much long lasting protection. It is certified for organic gardening though so it’s very safe to use. Expect to use it once a week for 2-4 weeks in order to get good control depending on how bad the activity has gotten.