Indiana Wasps: A Guide for Homeowners

Posted by Matthew Rathbone on April 30, 2023 · 3 mins read

As a homeowner, it’s important to be familiar with the different types of wasps you might encounter in your backyard. While some species are harmless, others can be aggressive and even dangerous. In this guide, we’ll introduce you to the common types of wasps found in Indiana and provide tips on how to identify 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.

Paper Wasps

Paper wasps are a common sight in Indiana. They are named after their papery, umbrella-shaped nests that hang from eaves, tree branches, and other structures. Paper wasps are usually not aggressive unless they feel threatened, so it’s best to stay away from their nests.

Identification: Paper wasps are slender and have long legs. They are brownish-yellow with black wings, and some species have red or orange markings.

Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are another type of wasp commonly found in Indiana. They are known for their distinctive yellow and black striped bodies and can be aggressive if their nests are disturbed. Yellow jacket nests can be found underground, in trees, and in buildings.

Identification: Yellow jackets are small and have a smooth, shiny body. They are yellow and black striped and have black antennae.

Bald-Faced Hornets

Bald-faced hornets are a type of yellow jacket that is larger and more aggressive than the typical yellow jacket. They are known for their large, grayish-white nests that can be found hanging from trees and other structures. Bald-faced hornets will attack if their nest is disturbed, so it’s essential to keep a safe distance.

Identification: Bald-faced hornets are black with white or ivory markings on their face, thorax, and abdomen. They have two pairs of wings and can grow up to an inch in length.

Cicada Killers

Cicada killers are a type of solitary wasp that feeds on cicadas. These wasps do not sting humans but can be intimidating due to their size. Cicada killers dig holes in the ground to create their nests and can often be found on sunny days.

Identification: Cicada killers are large and have a black body with orange-brown wings. Females can be over two inches long, while males are smaller.

How to Safely Remove a Wasp Nest

If you find a wasp nest on your property, it’s important to remove it safely. Here are some tips:

  • Wear protective clothing, including long sleeves and pants, gloves, and a hat with a veil.
  • Wait until nightfall when wasps are less active and use a flashlight to locate the nest.
  • Use a wasp spray specifically designed to kill wasps and their nests. Stand a safe distance away and spray the nest thoroughly.
  • Wait at least 24 hours before approaching the nest to ensure all the wasps are dead.
  • Use caution when removing the nest and dispose of it properly.

In conclusion, as a homeowner in Indiana, it’s essential to be aware of the different types of wasps you may encounter in your backyard. By understanding their behavior and appearance, you can take steps to avoid dangerous encounters and safely remove any unwanted nests.