I’ve been seeing these large orange red wasps flying out of my front yard and I think they’re living in the ground. For the past few weeks I’ve seen them coming out of the grass in many different locations but I can’t find any nests. I’ve heard about digger wasps but when I look, I don’t see any holes or other locations where they could be nesting. I’m afraid my dog or kids might step on one and get stung. Is there anything I can do to keep them away?
Red, brown to orange wasps are most commonly paper wasps but there are a few species that can nest in the ground. The true paper wasp species likes to nest under house siding, behind window shutters, around door frames and other areas which are somewhat protected from direct sunlight and other elements. They over winter and emerge in early spring to build new nests. When nest building they will forage to many locations including lawns as they search for water and other raw materials. During dry spells they will be seen around bird feeders, pools and man made ponds as well as landscaping that is being watered.
However, there are several ground species like the golden wasp that do live in the ground. Also known as the digger wasp, the golden wasp isn’t really gold but more red so it’s name is a bit of a misnomer. There are many other species found throughout the United States that range in color from black to red to white to brown. And their size can vary too. Some are small and others can get quite large. The one thing they all have in common is they like to nest in turf and will dig small holes that look like they could be created by poking a pencil in the ground. I wouldn’t be surprise if this is what you’re seeing but quite frankly, it’s a 50-50 chance it’s one or the other.
In summary, the species you have is doing one of two things. If they’re paper wasps they’re probably just foraging for water or nest material. But you could easily miss their small nests so in fact they could be a digger wasp that’s nesting somewhere in the area. The one thing you could do that would solve the problem immediately would be to treat the landscaping with some of the CYPERMETHRIN featured in our WASP CONTROL article. This will keep them away or kill them if they continue to land over treated surfaces. If you prefer not to kill them, spray the same area with the INSECT REPELLENT SPRAY. Understand this is only a repellent and basically the organic option; it’s perfectly safe to use on turf and plants and won’t kill any insects.
Lastly, you could do a thorough inspection of the house to make sure you don’t have any nesting on your home. If you end up finding some nesting on the siding, the Cypermethrin can be used to control the nest. But if they’re going up under some siding, you’ll find the DRIONE DUST is better suited to treat such areas.
Here are direct links to the information and products listed above:
Wasp Control Article: http://www.wasps.net/wasp-and-hornet-control
Insect Repellent Spray: http://www.non-toxic-pest-control.com/repellents/nbs-repellent-insect-spray
Drione Dust: http://www.bugspray.com/catalog/products/page31.html