Red and Black Wasps in Oklahoma: What Homeowners Need to Know

Posted by Matthew Rathbone on April 14, 2023 · 3 mins read

If you’re like most homeowners in Oklahoma, you’ve probably seen a red and black wasp buzzing around your backyard at some point. These wasps are actually two different species: the red wasp and the black wasp. In this article, we’ll discuss how to identify these wasps, their behavior, and what to do if they become a pest.

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.

Red Wasp

The red wasp (Polistes carolina) is a common sight in Oklahoma. They are about 1 inch long and have a slender body with distinctive red coloring on the head and thorax. The rest of the body is usually black or dark brown. Red wasps are social insects that build their nests in sheltered areas such as eaves, under decks, or in trees.


Red wasps are not aggressive unless provoked. However, they can sting multiple times, which can be painful for humans. If you encounter a red wasp, it’s best to keep your distance and observe from afar. If there is a nest on your property, it’s important not to disturb it, as this can cause the wasps to become defensive and attack.


If red wasps become a problem on your property, there are several ways to control them. One effective method is to use a bee and wasp spray that can be applied directly to the nest. It’s important to follow the instructions carefully and wear protective clothing when using any type of pesticide.

Black Wasp

The black wasp (Sphex pensylvanicus) is another common species found in Oklahoma. They are similar in size to the red wasp but have a predominantly black body with blue wings. Black wasps are solitary insects that prefer to nest in dry soil, such as the cracks in driveways or sidewalks.


Black wasps are not aggressive and will only sting if threatened. Their stings are less painful than those of other wasps, but some people may still have an allergic reaction. If you see a black wasp in your backyard, it’s best to leave it alone and let it go about its business.


Since black wasps are solitary, they don’t form large colonies like other wasps. This means that they are easier to control if they become a problem. One effective method is to pour boiling water into their nesting holes, which will kill the wasps without the use of pesticides.


Red and black wasps are common sights in Oklahoma backyards, but they don’t have to be a problem. By learning how to identify these wasps and understanding their behavior, you can coexist with them peacefully. If they do become a nuisance, there are several methods to control them safely and effectively.