Meet the Giant Wasps of Florida: A Guide for Homeowners

Posted by Matthew Rathbone on April 02, 2023 · 4 mins read

If you live in Florida, chances are you’ve encountered a giant wasp or two in your backyard. These impressive insects can be intimidating, but they are an important part of our ecosystem. In this guide, we’ll introduce you to some common species of giant wasps found in Florida and provide tips on how to identify them and keep them under control.

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.

What are giant wasps?

Giant wasps are a type of wasp that are typically larger in size than other species of wasps. They are often black and yellow or black and orange in color and have longer legs and antennae. Some species of giant wasps are solitary, while others are social and live in colonies.

Common types of giant wasps in Florida

Cicada Killer Wasp

The cicada killer wasp is one of the largest species of wasp found in Florida. These insects can grow up to 2 inches long and have a wingspan of up to 3 inches. They are named after their habit of capturing and paralyzing cicadas, which they then use as food for their larvae. While cicada killer wasps can be intimidating, they are not aggressive towards humans and will only sting if provoked.

European Hornet

The European hornet is a social species of wasp that was introduced to the United States from Europe. These insects are reddish-brown in color with yellow stripes on their abdomen. They can grow up to 1.5 inches long and are known for their painful stings. European hornets build their nests in hollow trees, attics, and wall voids, and can become a nuisance if they infest your home.

Paper Wasp

Paper wasps are a social species of wasp that build their nests out of paper-like material. These insects are around 1 inch long and can be identified by their slender bodies and long legs. They are usually brown or reddish-brown in color with yellow markings. Paper wasps are not aggressive unless their nest is disturbed, so it’s best to leave their nests alone if possible.

How to prevent infestations

To prevent giant wasps from setting up shop in your backyard, there are a few things you can do:

  • Keep your yard clean and free of debris
  • Seal any cracks or crevices on the exterior of your home
  • Remove any sources of standing water
  • Keep your garbage cans tightly sealed

Safely removing giant wasp nests

If you do discover a giant wasp nest in your yard, it’s important to remove it safely. Here are some tips:

  • Wait until nightfall when the wasps are less active
  • Wear protective clothing, including long sleeves, pants, gloves, and a veil
  • Use a wasp spray that is labeled for the specific species of wasp you are dealing with
  • Spray the nest from a safe distance and then quickly leave the area
  • Wait a day or two before removing the nest to make sure all of the wasps are dead

In conclusion, giant wasps may seem scary, but they play an important role in our ecosystem. By learning how to identify them and taking steps to prevent infestations, you can peacefully coexist with these fascinating insects in your backyard. But if you do need to remove a nest, remember to take precautions and seek professional help if necessary.