Large Wasps in Florida: What You Need to Know

Posted by Matthew Rathbone on March 25, 2023 · 3 mins read

If you’re a homeowner in Florida, chances are you’ve encountered some large wasps in your backyard. These stinging insects can be intimidating, but it’s important to understand their behavior and how to deal with them safely. In this post, we’ll cover the most common large wasp species found in Florida and provide tips on how to protect yourself and your property.

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.

Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are one of the most aggressive types of wasps found in Florida. They are easily identified by their bright yellow and black stripes, and they build nests in the ground or in trees. If you see a large number of wasps flying in and out of a hole in the ground, there’s a good chance it’s a yellow jacket nest.

The best way to deal with yellow jackets is to avoid them altogether. Keep your garbage cans tightly sealed and don’t leave sweet drinks or food outside. If you do come across a yellow jacket nest, it’s best to call in a professional exterminator to remove it.

Cicada Killer Wasps

Cicada killer wasps are another large species of wasp found in Florida. They are solitary insects that are not aggressive towards humans, but their size alone can be intimidating. Cicada killer wasps are known for their distinctive buzzing sound and large burrow holes in the ground.

If you find cicada killer wasps in your backyard, it’s usually best to leave them alone. They are actually beneficial to have around as they help control cicada populations. However, if their presence becomes a nuisance, you can try sprinkling diatomaceous earth around their burrow holes to discourage them from nesting in the area.

Paper Wasps

Paper wasps are slender, elongated wasps that build paper-like nests under eaves, decks, or in other sheltered areas. They are generally not aggressive unless their nest is disturbed, so it’s important to keep a safe distance from any paper wasp nests you come across.

If you need to remove a paper wasp nest, it’s best to do so at night when the wasps are less active. Wear protective clothing, including gloves and a face mask, and use a wasp spray labeled for paper wasps. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully to avoid getting stung.


Encountering large wasps in your Florida backyard can be unsettling, but with the right knowledge and precautions, you can coexist with these insects safely. Remember to keep your garbage cans sealed, avoid sweet drinks and food outside, and never attempt to remove a wasp nest yourself unless you have experience and the proper equipment. If you’re unsure about what kind of wasp you’re dealing with or how to handle a situation, always consult with a professional.