Getting to Know the Ohio Wasps in Your Backyard

Posted by Matthew Rathbone on May 21, 2023 · 3 mins read

As a homeowner, it can be concerning to see wasps buzzing around your backyard. These stinging insects can be intimidating, but did you know that most wasps are actually beneficial to have around? In this article, we’ll introduce you to some of the wasps you might encounter in Ohio and share tips for safely living alongside 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.

Why We Need Wasps

While wasps may seem like an unwelcome guest at your backyard barbecue, they actually play an important role in our ecosystems. Many species of wasps are predators, preying on other insects that are considered pests, such as caterpillars and aphids. This natural pest control helps keep our gardens healthy without the need for harmful pesticides.

The Ohio Wasps You Might See

There are many different species of wasps that can be found in Ohio, but here are a few of the most common:

Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are perhaps the most well-known type of wasp thanks to their distinctive black and yellow markings. They are social insects that build large paper nests, often in the ground or in trees. While they can be aggressive when they feel threatened, yellow jackets can also be beneficial for controlling other pest insects.

Paper Wasps

Paper wasps get their name from the paper-like material they use to construct their open-faced nests. These wasps are typically less aggressive than yellow jackets, but they will defend their nests if they feel threatened. Paper wasps are also predators and can help control garden pests.

Mud Daubers

Mud daubers are solitary wasps that build mud nests, which look like small tubes attached to walls or other surfaces. These wasps are not aggressive and rarely sting humans, preferring instead to prey on spiders and other insects.

Cicada Killers

Cicada killers are large, solitary wasps that are known for their impressive hunting skills. As their name suggests, these wasps hunt cicadas by paralyzing them and carrying them back to their underground nests. While cicada killers may look intimidating, they are not aggressive towards humans and are generally considered beneficial due to their role in controlling cicada populations.

Tips for Living With Wasps

If you have wasps in your backyard, it’s important to take steps to ensure both your safety and theirs. Here are some tips for coexisting with these important insects:

  • Avoid disturbing their nests. If you notice a wasp nest in your backyard, try to give it a wide berth and avoid doing any yard work nearby.
  • Keep food and drinks covered. Wasps are attracted to sweet smells and can become aggressive around food and drinks, so be sure to cover your picnic spread or move it indoors.
  • Provide alternative nesting sites. If you’re concerned about wasps building nests in inconvenient locations, consider putting up a wasp house or providing other attractive nesting materials away from high-traffic areas.

By following these tips and learning more about the wasps in your backyard, you can coexist peacefully with these important insects. So next time you see a wasp buzzing around your garden, take a moment to appreciate all the good they do before shooing them away.