If you live in Florida and have ever been stung by a wasp, then you know these insects can be dangerous. With over 100 species of wasps found all across the state, it is important to know which type of wasp you are dealing with so you know how dangerous these stinging insects can be. The following article will discuss the different wasp species that call Florida home and what makes them unique.
Types of Wasps In Florida:
As mentioned above there are quite a few different species of wasps that are common to Florida, some of them can be quite aggressive and dangerous, while others are more likely to mind their own business. By being able to identify and tell the difference between these stinging insects, you'll better be able to understand the severity of your issue, and how dangerous they can be.
Cicada Killer Wasps:
If you have a lawn in Florida, then there is a good chance that these wasps live nearby. Cicada killer wasps are large and black with yellow markings on the body and are one of the most popular types of Florida hornets and wasps. They make their nests underground and feed primarily on cicadas during their adult stage of life.
When they feel threatened or want to protect their young, cicada killers will sting humans as well as other prey such as rodents or spiders. These Sting often last for several minutes but do not usually require medical attention unless it becomes infected due to excessive scratching at the site of an attack by an individual who has been stung multiple times over many years time period. Unlike honey bees which die after only one sting, cicada killer wasps have the ability to sting repeatedly.
Mud Dauber Wasps:
Mud dauber wasps can be found in Florida and throughout the United States. Mud daubers, known as "Sceliphron caementarium", build nests made of mud anywhere they can find a sheltered area such as under eaves or inside attics. They are typically black with yellow markings on their abdomen and have long legs which allow them to easily move around the walls where they construct their nests by picking up dry particles from soil surfaces. These wasps feed primarily on nectar but will also prey upon other insects including cockroaches during certain times of the year when there are little available food sources that supply nutrition for adults and larvae alike. The venom injected into targets causes paralysis within ten minutes before death occurs approximately one hour after the initial sting.
Mud daubers have been known to sting humans, but the stings are usually painful but not life-threatening.
These types of wasps are reddish-brown and black in color, but can often be seen with red or yellow markings as well. Paper wasps nests typically resemble paper combs and they are considered social wasps so they live in a colony. Paper wasps feed on caterpillars, flies, bees, aphids, and other insects that they capture with their jaws. These venomous stings tend to be more severe than those caused by yellow jackets because the enzymes injected into victims break down proteins for digestion purposes which can lead to anaphylactic shock if a person is allergic to insect stings or bee bites.
These types of wasps are common in Florida, and they get their name because their nests look like they're made out of paper, and can hold a few hundred wasps at a time. If you have paper wasps or paper wasp nests on your property you should be careful that they aren't near small children because even one paper wasp can be aggressive.
One of the most common wasp species in Florida is yellow jackets. The name yellow jackets describe them well, as they have a bright yellow body with black stripes and spots on their abdomen. They are pretty aggressive insects that can sting multiple times to defend themselves or other members of their hive, but it's best not to bother them. Their nests usually contain about 100 individuals and will be built outdoors under rocks or wood piles where there is moisture present; if you find one near your home, make sure to call pest control because these creatures do cause some damage when building large colonies like this!
Yellow Jackets will typically only build nests in the ground or along the ground, while only having one hole to exit and enter from. This makes it easy to accidentally stumble upon a yellowjacket nest because they are often in holes in the ground left by previous animals. If you spot their yellow and black markings it's best to call in a professional pest control company and stay safe from these stinging pests.
Yellowjackets can become quite aggressive when they are protecting their nest, and when they are looking for food. Yellowjackets in the Fall are in extreme survival mode and will become even more aggressive as they are out searching for limited food sources.
Bald-faced hornets are one of the most aggressive types of wasps in Florida, but they also have a very distinctive look with painful stings. They're typically black and white which makes them easy to spot when flying around looking for food or building their nest. Bald Faced Hornets will build nests that can be up to six feet tall, but usually only do so if there is an overpopulation problem within the hive itself.
They typically build these large nests on buildings where they'll get more sunlight during the day. This gives individual bald-faced hornet plenty of time to gather food before dark because unlike yellow jackets who are out all day long constantly searching for food, bald-faced hornets don't need as much energy due to not needing to fly far distances as other species of wasps in Florida. Even one bald faced hornet can be quite the nuisance because of how aggressive they can be, out of any Florida wasps, definitely be on the lookout for these! We generally recommend calling a professional pest control company if you see these stinging insects flying around.
Velvet Ant Wasp:
Velvet Ant Wasps are the smallest of all wasp species in Florida. They're usually about one-tenth of an inch long, and get their name from the fact that they appear to be covered with velvet. This is because each hair on its body has a series of ridges which makes it look soft when you touch it. Other than being small in size, this type of wasp also happens to have a very mild sting compared to other types. It's so weak that humans typically won't feel much pain at all if stung by a Velvet Ant Wasp - although still best not to try!
Out of all the Florida wasps, not as much is known about this species and since they tend to not be very aggressive, they tend to be fine just left alone unlike wasps with a more powerful sting.
Final Thoughts On Wasps In Florida:
Wasps can be an annoying and frightening pest to have in and around your property in Florida. That being said, by better being able to identify which type of wasp is flying around, you'll be able to have a better understanding of how severe the problem is.