Alabama Wasps: What You Need to Know About These Backyard Buzzers

Posted by Matthew Rathbone on April 19, 2023 · 3 mins read

If you live in Alabama, chances are you’ve seen your fair share of wasps buzzing around your backyard. While they may be unwelcome guests at your barbeque or picnic, it’s important to remember that wasps play an important role in our ecosystem. In this article, we’ll introduce you to some of the most common wasps found in Alabama, help you identify them, and provide tips on what to do if you find a nest.

DIY Wasp removal recommendations

For non aggressive wasps I've had great luck spraying the nests with this Spectracide wasp remover in the evening. For more aggressive wasps I also use this rediculous looking upper torso Beekeeping suit. It seems silly, but trust me, it's amazing.

Types of Wasps Found in Alabama

Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are perhaps the most well-known type of wasp in Alabama. These bright yellow and black insects are often mistaken for bees due to their similar appearance. Unlike bees, however, yellow jackets are aggressive and can sting multiple times. They are also known for building nests in the ground, which can be difficult to spot.

Paper Wasps

Paper wasps are another common type of wasp in Alabama. These insects are named for the papery nests they build, which resemble upside-down umbrellas. Paper wasps are generally not aggressive, but they will defend their nests if threatened. Their stings can be painful, so it’s best to keep your distance from these insects.

Cicada Killers

Cicada killers are large, solitary wasps that are sometimes seen in Alabama. These insects are not aggressive towards humans, but they can be intimidating due to their size (up to 2 inches long!). Cicada killers hunt cicadas and other insects, so they can actually be beneficial in your garden.

Identifying Wasps

Identifying wasps can be tricky, especially since many different species look very similar. Here are a few tips to help you tell them apart:

  • Yellow jackets are typically smaller than bees and have bright yellow and black stripes.
  • Paper wasps have long, slender bodies with narrow waists. They are usually brownish-red or black with yellow markings.
  • Cicada killers are large and have reddish-brown heads and thoraxes with black abdomens.

What to Do If You Find a Nest

If you discover a wasp nest in your backyard, it’s important to proceed with caution. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Don’t try to remove the nest yourself. This can be dangerous and could result in multiple stings.
  • Keep children and pets away from the area.
  • Call a professional pest control company to handle the situation.

By following these tips, you can stay safe while still appreciating the important role that wasps play in our environment. Remember: if you see wasps in your backyard, don’t panic! With a little knowledge and caution, you can coexist with these backyard buzzers.