Identifying Spider Wasps in Oklahoma: What Homeowners Need to Know

Posted by Matthew Rathbone on April 12, 2023 · 2 mins read

As a homeowner, it’s common to spot all sorts of insects and critters in your backyard. One type of insect that can be particularly concerning is the spider wasp. In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about identifying spider wasps in Oklahoma and how to manage them safely.

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 Spider Wasps?

Spider wasps are a type of solitary wasp that hunts spiders as food for their larvae. They’re typically around 1-2 inches long and have a slender, elongated body with black and orange coloring. While they may look intimidating, spider wasps are not usually aggressive towards humans unless provoked or threatened.

Identifying Spider Wasps in Oklahoma

There are several species of spider wasps that can be found in Oklahoma, but one of the most common is the Tarantula Hawk Wasp (Pepsis spp.). These wasps can be identified by their shiny black bodies and bright orange wings.

Another species of spider wasp commonly found in Oklahoma is the Great Golden Digger Wasp (Sphex ichneumoneus). These wasps have a distinctive metallic gold color on their head and thorax, with black and yellow stripes on their abdomen.

Managing Spider Wasps in Your Backyard

If you come across spider wasps in your backyard, it’s important to remember that they play an important role in controlling the spider population. However, if their presence becomes too much of a nuisance, there are steps you can take to manage them safely.

Firstly, avoid provoking or disturbing spider wasps unnecessarily. If you do need to remove a nest or individual wasp, do so at night when they are less active and use protective clothing and equipment such as gloves and a face mask.

To prevent spider wasps from nesting in your backyard, try to eliminate potential nesting sites such as piles of debris or unused equipment. Keeping your lawn trimmed and free of clutter can also help deter spider wasps from nesting in your yard.


While spider wasps may seem intimidating, they’re typically not a threat to humans and play an important role in controlling the spider population. By identifying these wasps and learning how to manage them safely, homeowners in Oklahoma can coexist with these fascinating insects in their backyard.