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Day: May 9, 2024

What colors come to mind when you think of wasps in Arizona: yellow stripes, brown bodies, or a muted red coloration? But what about those curious black wasps you may see flitting around your backyard during the spring and summer?


We have the answers for you! In our blog, we’ll detail some of the most common black wasps in Arizona, from striped yellow jackets to the large and in-charge tarantula hawk wasps. Keep reading to learn more about what pests you may encounter as the weather warms up!

Tarantula Hawk Wasps

Tarantula Hawk Wasps are large, with vibrant orange wings and metallic blue-black bodies. Their striking colors warn potential predators about their powerful sting.


While yellow jackets and paper wasps operate within a large colony, tarantula hawk wasps are solitary creatures. Each female is responsible for hunting, nesting, and caring for her offspring independently. These wasps are exceptional fliers, flying slow and low to the ground to search for prey. 


Like most other wasp species, tarantula hawk wasps are diurnal and active during the day—their activity peaks during the warmer months, particularly in the summer when tarantulas are active.


True to their name, these pests actively hunt tarantulas to feed their young. Using its potent venom, the female wasp will paralyze its prey to keep it alive but immobile. 


Once eggs hatch into larvae, they consume the still-living tarantula, starting with non-essential tissues to keep the spider alive for as long as possible. This ensures a fresh food supply until the larva is ready to pupate.


The wasps themselves prefer to feed on flower nectar. This diet provides them with the energy needed for their active lifestyle and contributes to their role as pollinators in the ecosystem.


Should I worry about tarantula hawk wasps? 


A tarantula hawk wasp sting is notable for its intense pain. While the sensation doesn’t last as long as other painful pests like bullet ants or scorpions, you’ll still feel uncomfortable after the painful prick. 


Despite their fearsome reputation, tarantula hawk wasps don’t often target humans and typically stay away from others. Because they’re solitary, you won’t have to worry about an infestation either. However, we still advise that you stay away to avoid an unwanted encounter! 

Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are a common sight in Arizona. While not entirely black, these wasps are striking black and yellow in color, and their aggressive behavior complements their vibrant look.


These social insects live in large colonies capable of housing thousands of wasps, all working together to sustain the nest and care for the queen and larvae. Workers feed the larvae chewed-up insects and other protein-rich foods. In return, the larvae secrete a sugary substance that the workers consume.


In addition to hunting live prey for the hive, yellow jackets are also scavengers. They are attracted to sugary food and drinks and are often a nuisance at picnics, barbecues, and outdoor events. 


But that’s not the only way these pests can intrude on your home. Yellow jackets build their nests in underground burrows, wall voids, and tree cavities near your home. Underground nests are most common, as the wasps usually take advantage of old rodent burrows to create their new space. 


A yellow jacket colony begins in the spring when a fertilized queen emerges from hibernation to start a new nest. The colony grows throughout the summer, reaching its peak in late summer or early fall. The colony dies off as winter approaches, leaving only new queens to bundle down over winter and start new colonies the following year.


Should I worry about yellow jackets?

yellow jacket on a blue-black background


Yellow jackets can indeed be a cause for concern! Unlike honeybees, they can sting repeatedly without harming themselves, making their stings particularly painful and dangerous. 


When their nest is disturbed, these wasps will swarm out in large numbers to defend it, especially towards the end of summer when their aggression peaks. And these stings are nothing to scoff at!


Besides the pain, yellow jacket stings can trigger severe allergic reactions in some individuals, including anaphylaxis, which requires immediate medical attention. Pets and children are especially vulnerable to yellow jacket stings, as they may inadvertently provoke the wasps while playing or exploring. 


To minimize the risk of stings, avoid disturbing yellow jacket nests and cover food and drinks when dining outside. Never attempt to remove nests independently; instead, contact the experts at Green Magic Pest Control for help!

Paper Wasps

Paper wasps resemble yellow jackets with their yellow and black coloration; however, some of these pests look primarily brown or black with hints of yellow on their abdomens. 


They often build their nests in sheltered locations, like the eaves of buildings, under tree branches, or shrubbery. Their open, umbrella-shaped nests are typically attached to a surface by a single stalk.


The queen initiates construction by laying eggs in cells within the nest. Workers then expand the nest by adding new cells and layers of paper material. As the colony grows, the nest may increase in size and complexity.


Paper wasp colonies are annual, with new colonies created each spring by mated queens emerging from hibernation—the colony peaks in late summer, after which the queen produces new queens and males. The old colony dies off in the fall, with only fertilized females surviving to start new colonies the following spring.


Should I worry about paper wasps?


While paper wasps are generally less aggressive than yellow jackets, they will sting if provoked or perceived as a threat to the colony. Disturbing their nest, sudden movements, or swatting at them can trigger defensive behavior.


Avoid disturbing paper wasp nests to minimize the risk of stings. If a nest is located near a frequently used area, consider contacting a pest control professional to remove it safely. Attempting to remove or destroy the nest without proper training and equipment can result in stings and further agitation of the colony.

Controlling Black Wasps in Arizona with Green Magic

Are you seeking professional wasp removal services in Chandler, AZ, and surrounding areas? Trust the experts at Green Magic Pest Control! 


Don’t let a wasp infestation ruin your outdoor enjoyment or pose a risk to your family – trust our experienced technicians to eliminate the threat and restore your peace of mind. Contact us today!


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