Buzz Off! A Guide to the Wasps and Hornets of Indiana (And How to Remove Them)

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We all know the feeling. It’s finally warm and you’re enjoying a beautiful summer day. Work is over, your drink is poured, but then you hear it…a chorus of low pitched buzzing from above. Upon further examination, you see a nest plastered to your house, but the questions ring in your head… Is that safe for me to remove? What type of wasp or hornet am I dealing with here? I’m in Indiana right…it can’t be that bad.

We feel your pain, and as a family-owned pest control company that has worked in the Indianapolis area for almost 7 decades, we’ve seen it all. We hope you use this guide to determine whether the species you’re dealing with is a DIY job, or if you need a professional touch. So, without further ado, let’s examine the common wasp and hornet species of Indiana!

Mud Daubers and Potter Wasps

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Mud Daubers typically range from .5”-1” long, are black and yellow or black and blue, and have an extremely thin waist. Mud daubers almost never sting and are mostly solitary creatures. Nests are constructed with mud and are usually large enough for only a few wasps. To remove mud daubers, wait until the evening (when most wasps are in for the night) and carefully use a wasp-killing aerosol spray on the residents of the nest. Wait a day or so to ensure the nest is no longer active, then scrape the nest away with a putty knife and dispose of it in a plastic bag to avoid a repeat infestation. Mud daubers can sting on occasionーif you have an allergy, do not remove the nest yourself; ask a neighbor for help or call a licensed exterminator.

Paper Wasps

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Paper wasps are unique in that there are no coverings on the outer cells of their nests. Paper wasps have very thin bodies that are primarily black or brown with a few yellow streaks. Nests are usually fairly small, making a DIY job reasonable. Only engage in a DIY job if you can accept the risksーpaper wasps become very aggressive when they feel attacked. If you do intend to remove the nest, wait until evening and fully cover yourself, then use a wasp-killing aerosol spray to spray the nest from a safe distance. Monitor the nest over the next few days to ensure there is no longer activity, then remove the nest with a broom and dispose of it in a plastic bag.


Eastern Yellow Jacket

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With colony sizes ranging from 1,000 to 4,000, yellow jackets are quite a formidable foe. Yellow Jackets in Indiana typically nest underground in abandoned holes left by rodents, have a length of about .5”, and alternating black and yellow stripes along their abdomen. Though not dangerous alone, yellow jackets are known to be quite aggressive and coordinated in their attack when their nest is threatened. We highly recommend calling a pest control companyーit is often difficult to determine the size of the colony you are dealing with, as the nest can be enlarged underground.

Bald-Faced Hornet

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Take it from us, these things are the real deal! These large (~.75” long) white and black hornets create gray hanging nests that reach the size of a basketball. Colonies are typically made up of over 500 members that are extremely aggressive and known to sting repeatedly. As such, calling a licensed pest control service/exterminator is a must! No residential pest control product is equipped to handle the aggressive nature and sheer quantity of hornets present in a bald-faced hornet’s nest.

European Giant Hornet

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They don’t call it a Giant Hornet for nothing, folks! At .75”-1.5” long, this carnivorous species, introduced by settlers in the 1800s, is no joke! Often black and yellow or black and white, these hornets are known for being aggressive in nature; especially around food sources and while defending their nest. These nests are typically built inside of buildings, as giant hornets prefer internal structures. The sting of a Giant Hornet releases a variety of neurotransmitters into the body and are known to cause heart arrhythmia, with complications such as heart attack and stroke possible. This is another case where we recommend you call a professional. European giant hornets are resilient and dangerous; if you encounter a nest, exercise extreme caution.

Need help with your wasp problem? Of all pest control companies in Indianapolis, AAA Exterminating offers the best service with a personal touch. With almost 70 years of experience and over 100 5 star reviews, we guarantee you will be satisfied with our work! Contact us today, and get back to enjoying your beautiful summer day.