There are a variety of wasps around Texas, with many of these also found in Austin. While they can look intimidating, most wasps are actually harmless to people unless threatened, and they help control the pest population as predators of numerous other insects. For that reason it is not necessary to treat every wasp or nest you see around your home.

However, having wasps near an entrance or where people often hang out can be a problem, so we can safely handle those for you if needed. As well, some people have allergies to wasp and hornet stings and do not want to risk it. If that’s your situation, give us a call at 512-443-0123 if you need assistance in safely treating wasp activity. Alternately, you can purchase a pet and people friendly wasp spray at Home Depot, such as “Zevo”, which allows you to spray a wasp nest from about 15 to 20 feet away.

Below is more information about the types of wasps most commonly found in and around the Austin area. You can also read more at the Bee Identification page of the Texas A&M Agrilife Research website: https://txbeeinspection.tamu.edu/public/bee-identification/

Types of Wasps

Texas paper wasps

Paper Wasps

Paper wasps are often seen under eaves, decks and near roof lines building their namesake nests that are made of chewed wood fiber. If left alone, the nests can grow up to 6 to 8 inches in diameter and house several dozen wasps.

The wasps vary in color from reddish-orange to dark brown, and some can have yellow markings or stripes. They typically grow to about one inch long.

They are a social insect, as opposed to a solitary wasp, and so they sting out of defense only as opposed to hunting. Therefore when they or their nest is threatened they can swoop down and attack, though this is not very common.

Yellowjackets

Yellowjackets are visible by their black and yellow markings. They sometimes look like bees because they are about the same size (½ inch), but yellow jackets are hairless and don’t carry pollen.

Mud Daubers

Mud daubers are commonly seen buzzing around homes, but can be easily differentiated from other wasps. They are about ¾ to 1 inch in length and can vary in color. Some are entirely black, while others have yellow markings or even be an iridescent blue-black color. The most obvious difference between other wasps and mud daubers is that mud daubers have a long, narrow waist that connects the thorax to the abdomen.

They are also solitary, not social, and so do not have multiple wasps in a nest. They are often found around garages and under patios or front porches where they use that protected area to build their mud nests. These are not aggressive and very rarely sting.

Cicada Killers

These are perhaps the most intimidating wasp in the list due to its appearance and behavior. Cicada killers can reach up to 1.5 inches in length and along with the Tarantula Hawk Wasp are one of the largest wasps found in North America. They are hairy, reddish and have black areas on their middle, and are black to reddish brown marked with light yellow stripes on the abdominal (rear) areas.

They are usually present in the summer but die off around September or October. The females are seen darting around in search of food while males can more often be in groups. Males will investigate things that move around them, and so can be intimidating if you come near. However they have no stinger. The females do but are concerned with finding a cicada and taking it to their burrow. They will sting if handled roughly.

Leave Them “Bee”

Unless wasps are located right around a home entrance or common gathering location, they can usually safely be ignored. They help eradicate other unwanted pests such as small spiders, dead insects or cicadas and act as pollinators.

But if you have wasp allergies or just need help with some that are getting too close for comfort, let us know how we can help by calling 512-443-0123 or filling out our online quote form.