What Are Wasps?
Wasps are not bees or ants but can be categorized anywhere from Hornets or Yellowjackets. Like bees, they help pollinate our plants and are very important to our ecosystem. There are many different types of wasps that can be found here in Texas.
Types of Wasps in Texas
Typically found in garages, sheds, barns, shrubs or other protected areas around your home, Paper Wasps are commonly found throughout Texas and are easy to identify. They are typically 1 inch in length and vary in coloration. Paper Wasps can be yellow with black stripes, dark brown or even a reddish-orange rust color. Their nests are constructed from wood fibers and resemble an umbrella shape. When provoked, Paper Wasps can be aggressive and will sting you! If you are not allergic, their sting is only mildly uncomfortable with some swelling, itching, and slight pain around the sting. Paper Wasps are the most common types of wasps found in Texas.
Frequently confused with honey bees, Yellowjackets have similar black and yellow markings. They range in the same size as honey bees however, they do not have fuzz on them and will not be seen carrying pollen. Like Paper Wasps, Yellowjackets form their nests with chewed wood fibers also. They have horizontal combs and are covered by a papery shell. Larger nests are often found in gardens, pastures, and roadside embankments. Smaller nests can be found in trees, garages, sides of the house, sheds and barns. Yellowjackets are similar to Paper Wasps with their aggression and will sting if provoked. Their sting is known to be a little more painful to some and can be considered very dangerous if you are allergic. Yellowjackets are also one of the most common types of wasps found in Texas.
Hornets can be a loose term to refer to either Yellowjackets or Paper Wasps. However, there is the Baldfaced Hornet which is technically the only “hornet” known to exist in Texas but it is actually a certain type of Yellowjacket. They have white and black marking instead of black and yellow markings. Their nests can be up to 3 feet in length and are constructed in remote locations which prompts the Baldfaced Hornet to be less aggressive.
These are typically known as the largest wasps in the United States reaching a size of 1.5 inches in length. They typically prey on adult cicadas, hence the name, and are considered very beneficial. The males do not have stingers and therefor are harmless. Females do have a stinger but rarely sting.
Mud Daubers are all black and can be seen around your house with a very identifiable smaller waist compared to other wasps. They are solitary insects which means their nests are constructed for one wasp. The nests are constructed from mud and can be found on the side of your house, garage, or any other protected area. Mud Daubers are not aggressive and the likelihood of being stung by one is very low. Even if you are stung, their venom is mild. Mud Daubers favorite prey is spiders, including Black Widows, which makes their presence beneficial. Mud Daubers are also one of the common types of wasps in Texas.
Mexican Honey Wasps
Smaller than a honey bee an almost all black in color, Mexican Honey Wasps are also hairless. They form paper nests that usually can be found in trees and shrubs. Mexican Honey Wasps are not aggressive and typically ignore human activity. Mexican Honey Wasps are typically found in South Texas and are not a common type of wasp in Texas.