Here at Rove Pest Control, we believe our neighbors’ that live here in Framingham, Massachusetts should not spend summers being concerned about wasps but rather surrounded by family, friends, and lots of laughing.
Here’s how you can avoid that fear and easily identify six of the most popular types of wasps in Framingham.
Unlike bees, wasps don’t lose their stingers immediately and will continue to sting you if they can. That’s why it’s important to know the differences between the two subgroups of wasps: social wasps and solitary wasps. The first subgroup, social wasps, are the one to be worried about which is why we’ll be starting with them.
These wasps are typically very defensive, using their stingers as a way to protect themselves and their colony. They’re easily startled and will not hesitate to defend their territory if they perceive you to be a threat or a danger.
If you live in Framingham, MA and happen to come across paper wasps, yellow jackets, or a bald-faced hornet, your best bet would be to act carefully, avoid getting too close to them, and respect their space.
These wasps can often be found buzzing around trash cans, picnic tables, and containers of open soda. The adult paper wasp will feed on sources of nectar, but feed insects to their larvae.
The body of this species is dark brown, almost black and will contain black and yellow markings on their body. An easy way to identify a paper wasp is by their lengthy hind legs, trailing behind their body as they fly.
Another way to identify a paper wasp is looking up at the eaves or the ceilings of buildings on your property. You may be able to locate one of their signature, honey-comb shaped nests hanging up above.
Paper wasps can become aggressive when startled or threatened so tread carefully, however, they rarely get as angry as the following two species.
Similar to the paper wasp, there’s a good chance that you’ve seen a yellow jacket flying around your picnic table sometime in the past.
These angry little wasps have small bodies with prominent black and yellow stripes. Pay attention to how this wasp lands. If it sways from left to right moments before landing, it’s most likely a yellow jacket.
You may have a difficult time locating their nests due to the fact that they build their nests under rocks, in hollow parts of trees, cracks in buildings, and even underground.
If you happen to locate a yellow jacket nest, use extreme caution. These wasps are extremely territorial and will aggressively defend their colony with force.
Although their name can be deceiving to some, bald-faced hornets are, in fact, a species of wasp.
These wasps can grow longer than 1” and have a menacing black and white body that matches their white face and the white stripe on their tail.
Larger and more unique than other wasp nests, you can typically find this paper-like, egg-shaped nest hanging from tree branches, in eaves, or under various building overhangs.
Similar to the yellow jacket, bald-faced hornets are very territorial and if you happen to startle them, they will go to almost any length to give you a painful sting in order to protect their nest and colony.
Solitary wasps are not typically aggressive to humans and mainly use their stingers to hunt prey.
These wasps are quite merciful and forgiving, frequently choosing to ignore us and continue whatever it is that they were doing previously. If they do happen to feel threatened, there is always the possibility that they might sting you, albeit very slim.
A few solitary wasp species that can be found in Framingham, MA include mud daubers, great golden digger wasps, and the cicada killer.
The appearance of a mud dauber can vary slightly, but the thorax and abdomen are typically long, black, and slender with pale markings scattered about. In addition, they possess a very thin area between their thorax and abdomen.
Like their name suggests, these wasps use mud to build their nests. Typically located in sheltered areas of a building such as bricks on a wall, beneath a soffit, or in the corners of a garage door. If the nest has visible holes on the exterior, it’s most likely old or inactive and is usually nothing of concern.
Stings are rare from a mud dauber, but they may start to get cranky if they feel they are in danger.
Great Golden Digger Wasps
These wasps can be identified by their long antenna, dark thorax, and an abdomen that is half orange and half black.
The female wasp works alone by locating and building her nest underground in sand or loosely packed dirt. These locations are often found along the side of a driveway, in a garden, or a pathway not travelled often.
The responsibilities of the female wasp include: hunting various insects such as crickets and grasshoppers, paralyzing them, then carrying them back to her nest.
Once she’s safely returned to her nest, her egg will be laid on top of the paralyzed insect. Within a few days, this insect becomes her larva’s host and the larva will eat it alive.
As freaky as that might sound, we have little to fear. They rarely sting and it usually only happens when stepped on or picked up by hand.
Having said that, there is the chance that if the male feels threatened, he may become aggressive to protect the colony. Thankfully, the males are not equipped with stingers and can only do minimal harm by it’s way of flying into you.
Uniquely identifiable compared to the previous wasps mentioned, cicada killers have a thick, dark brown body, with yellow markings on their abdomen. One of these wasps, when fully grown, can reach a shocking 2” long.
These wasps build their nests underground close to their primary food source, as their name suggests, cicadas. As a result of their underground tunneling, it is possible that damage may occur to your lawn or flower beds surrounding their current nest.
These wasps fly high above trees searching for their prey. Once they’ve collected and stored them in their nest, it’s sealed for their young to safely consume the recently obtained meal.
Despite their alarming appearance, these wasps are quite docile and it is quite rare to be stung by one of them.
The easiest way to identify a wasp on your property
Due to the handful of different wasp species, it can be quite difficult, sometimes terrifying, having to get up close and personal with something that could potentially sting you.
Thankfully, the technicians here at Rove Pest Control are licensed and have been professionally trained to identify hundreds of various pests in the state of Massachusetts.
If you’re having trouble identifying the wasps that you’re dealing with, give us a call or send us an email. We would be more than happy to answer any questions or concerns that you might have.