Black Wasps in Texas: Everything Homeowners Need to Know

Posted by Matthew Rathbone on January 21, 2023 · 4 mins read

If you’re a homeowner in Texas, you’ve likely encountered a black wasp buzzing around your backyard. But did you know that there are multiple species of black wasps commonly found in Texas? In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about identifying these wasps, their behaviors, and what to do if you come across them.

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.

Identifying Black Wasps in Texas

Black wasps come in all shapes and sizes, but they share a few common features. As their name suggests, they are predominantly black, with some species having small patches of white or yellow on their bodies. They have long, slender bodies with narrow waists, and most have a pair of wings that fold flat over their backs when at rest.

Here are a few of the most common types of black wasps found in Texas:

Great Black Wasp

The great black wasp (Sphex pensylvanicus) is a large, solitary wasp with a metallic blue-black body that can grow up to 1.5 inches long. They are commonly found in open areas like fields and gardens, where they hunt and feed on other insects. Despite their size and fearsome appearance, great black wasps are not aggressive towards humans and rarely sting unless provoked.

Paper Wasp

Paper wasps (Polistes spp.) are a social wasp that builds papery nests in protected areas like eaves, awnings, and tree branches. They are black or brown with yellow or orange markings and grow up to an inch long. Paper wasps are not typically aggressive unless their nest is threatened, and their stings are painful but not usually dangerous unless you are allergic.

Mud Dauber Wasp

Mud dauber wasps (Sceliphron spp.) are solitary wasps that build mud nests in sheltered locations like attics, sheds, and porch ceilings. They are black with thin waists and can grow up to an inch long. Mud daubers are not aggressive and rarely sting, but their nests can be unsightly and should be removed if they become a problem.

Behaviors of Black Wasps

Black wasps are fascinating creatures with unique behaviors. Here are a few interesting facts about their habits:

  • Many black wasps are solitary, meaning they live alone rather than in colonies like bees or yellow jackets.
  • Most black wasps are predators that feed on other insects like grasshoppers, crickets, and caterpillars. This makes them beneficial to have in your yard, as they can help control populations of garden pests.
  • Female black wasps lay their eggs on or near their prey, so that when the eggs hatch, the larvae have a ready source of food.
  • Although black wasps can sting, they are generally not aggressive towards humans and will only do so if provoked or threatened.

Dealing with Black Wasps in Your Backyard

If you encounter black wasps in your backyard, there’s no need to panic. Remember, most black wasps are not aggressive towards humans and are actually beneficial to have around. However, if you do need to remove a nest or deal with a particularly persistent wasp, here are a few tips:

  • If you find a paper wasp nest on your property, wait until after dark to remove it. This is when the wasps are least active and less likely to sting.
  • Use caution when approaching any type of wasp nest, and wear protective clothing if necessary.
  • If you are stung by a black wasp, clean the area with soap and water and apply ice to reduce swelling. Most stings will resolve on their own within a few days, but seek medical attention if you experience symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as difficulty breathing or swelling of the face and throat.

In conclusion, black wasps are a common sight in Texas backyards, but they are nothing to fear. By learning to identify these fascinating creatures and understanding their behaviors, you can coexist peacefully with them and even benefit from their presence in your yard.