Texas is home to various types of hornets, some of which can cause problems for humans.
From the European hornet to the Texas cicada killer, it’s important to be aware of the different types of hornets in Texas so you can take the necessary precautions.
This blog post will explore the three types of hornets you might encounter in Texas and how to identify them.
1. Guinea Paper Wasp
The Guinea Paper Wasp is one of Texas’s most common hornets. It is a large, aggressive wasp with a yellow and black color pattern that can often buzz around residential and commercial properties.
Its body is approximately one inch long, and its wingspan can be up to two inches wide.
These types of hornets in Texas get their name from the paper-like nests it builds in sheltered areas, like overhangs or eaves.
The Guinea Paper Wasp is an aggressive species that will defend its nest by attacking anyone approaching it.
While they are rarely lethal to humans, they have a painful sting and should be avoided.
2. Yellow-Legged Mud-Dauber Wasp
The yellow-legged mud-dauber wasp is a type of hornet commonly found in Texas. It is easily identifiable by its black and yellow coloring, as well as its elongated body shape. These hornets typically have yellow legs, antennae, and a yellow head.
These types of hornets in Texas can reach up to 1.5 inches and be found in various habitats around the state. This hornet species builds its nest by collecting mud and forming it into cells or tubes. These nests are often found on rocks, buildings, and other flat surfaces. Inside the nest, the female wasps deposit paralyzed prey for their larvae to feed on.
The larvae will then develop inside the nest and emerge as adults. Yellow-legged mud-dauber wasps defend their nest by buzzing and stinging when threatened. For this reason, keeping your distance from these types of hornets is best if you encounter them in Texas.
3. Eastern Cicada-Killer Wasp
The Eastern Cicada-Killer Wasp is one of the types of hornets in Texas that can be found in the eastern part of the state. It is a large, robust wasp with a body length of up to two inches. It has a reddish-brown head and thorax with yellow stripes and a black abdomen with yellow markings. The wings are brownish-black with orange spots at the base.
The Eastern Cicada-Killer Wasp lives in dry, sandy areas, often near cicada populations. They feed on nectar, fruit juices, and honeydew, but their primary food source is the cicada. Female wasps dig burrows in the soil, search for cicadas and paralyze them with venom.
The paralyzed cicadas are taken back to the burrow, where the female lays an egg on the cicada’s body. When the egg hatches, the larva will feed on the cicada until it is fully grown. The Eastern Cicada-Killer Wasp is considered to be beneficial because it helps to keep cicada populations in check. Although they may be intimidating due to their size, they pose no threat to humans and will only sting if provoked.
4. Hunter’s Little Paper Wasp
Hunter’s little paper wasp is one of Texas’s many types of hornets. As its name implies, it is a small paper wasp. It is native to the United States, especially in the southern and eastern parts of the country. Its body is about three-eighths of an inch in length and black with yellow spots. Its wingspan is about two inches.
The hunter’s little paper wasp builds small, single-combed nests that are often hidden in protected places, such as under eaves or in sheltered areas in walls. These types of hornets in Texas feed on insects and other small arthropods and use their venom to paralyze their prey before eating them. These types of hornets in Texas are not considered dangerous unless provoked and rarely sting humans.
5. Metric Paper Wasp
The Metric Paper Wasp is one of Texas’s most common hornets. The average adult is between 3/8 and 5/8 inches long and has a slender body. It is distinguished by its black body and bright yellow or white markings on the head, abdomen, and thorax. The Metric Paper Wasp can nest in wood or other materials near homes and gardens.
It feeds on various insects, such as caterpillars, flies, and aphids. Like other types of hornets in Texas, the Metric Paper Wasp can be dangerous when provoked. If disturbed, it may sting several times in succession. Therefore, it is important to take precautionary measures to avoid contact with this species.
6. Apache Paper Wasp
The Apache Paper Wasp is one of the types of hornets in Texas that you may encounter. This species is easily distinguished by its predominantly black body and bright orange wings. In terms of size, these wasps are about 1/2 inch long and have an extended abdomen.
They construct nests out of gray or brown paper, typically found in sheltered areas such as the eaves of houses and underneath decks. Apache Paper Wasps feed on nectar and other insects, such as caterpillars and flies. While they are not typically considered aggressive, they will sting if threatened or provoked. When this occurs, the sting can cause localized pain and swelling, so it is best to take caution when dealing with these types of hornets in Texas.
7. Southern Yellowjacket
The Southern Yellowjacket is one of the most common types of hornets in Texas. This type of yellow jacket is known for its distinctive black and yellow stripes. It typically builds its nest in trees, shrubs, and other protected places around homes and businesses.
Southern Yellowjackets are also known to be aggressive and can sting multiple times when provoked. These types of hornets in Texas feed on insects, fruit, nectar, and sap and are particularly attracted to sweet foods and drinks that people often consume during summer.
8. Fine-Backed Red Paper Wasp
The Fine-Backed Red Paper Wasp is one of Texas’s most common hornets. It is native to the region and commonly found in urban and rural areas. This wasp species has red markings on its body and a yellow and black pattern on the thorax and abdomen.
These types of hornets in Texas are approximately one inch in size and tend to feed on other insects, such as caterpillars. They build paper nests in shrubs, under eaves, or under tree branches, which makes them vulnerable to human contact. If their nest is disturbed, the wasps will become aggressive and may sting multiple times.
9. Great Golden Digger Wasp
The Great Golden Digger Wasp is one of the types of hornets that you might encounter in Texas. These large and impressive-looking wasps measure up to 2.5 cm in length and have a bright yellow bodies with black stripes. Their wings are transparent, and their abdomens are patterned with yellow, black, and white markings.
These types of hornets in Texas build burrows in sandy soil, where they lay their eggs. The larvae feed on paralyzed prey that the female wasp has caught. The Great Golden Digger Wasp is a beneficial insect as it helps to keep the populations of pests such as grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars, and ants under control.
10. Blue-Eyed Ensign Wasp
The Blue-Eyed Ensign Wasp (Evania appendigaster) is one of Texas’s many types of hornets. This wasp is found throughout North America, from the northern United States to Canada. These types of hornets in TTexas are usually found around areas with bodies of water, as it feeds on aquatic insects.
The Blue-Eyed Ensign Wasp has a distinctive blue eye patch on its thorax, which is how it got its name. Its body is black and yellow, with a red abdomen and two large wings. It is typically around 1/2 inch in length. The Blue-Eyed Ensign Wasp is a solitary wasp and not aggressive, so it poses no danger to humans.
11. Ringed Paper Wasp
The Ringed Paper Wasp is one of the types of hornet in Texas. It has a black and yellow striped pattern with a distinctive reddish-brown head. It usually builds its nest in trees or buildings, using its mandibles to chew up wood pieces and make them into paper.
It is solitary and does not live in colonies like other wasps. These types of hornets in Texas tend to feed on nectar from flowers and other insects, making them important pollinators. As it is a solitary species, it can be found throughout Texas and makes a great addition to any backyard garden.
12. Red-Marked Pachodynerus Wasp
The red-marked Pachodynerus Wasp is one of the most common types of hornet. This species is easily recognizable by its bright red and black markings and long, slender body.
These types of hornets in Texas build paper-like nests on the sides of homes and other structures and prefer to feed on flower nectar. While their stings can be painful, the Red-marked Pachodynerus Wasp is generally considered harmless to humans and will only sting if threatened or provoked.
13. Nearctic Blue Mud-Dauber Wasp
The Nearctic Blue Mud-Dauber Wasp is one of the many types of hornets that you can find in Texas. It is a solitary wasp, and its larvae feed exclusively on spiders. These types of hornets in Texas build their nests with mud on walls, rocks, and even under eaves and window sills.
The Nearctic Blue Mud-Dauber Wasp is a black and blue insect with a long and slender body and a glossy appearance. Its wings are large, and it has a yellow-orange pattern on its thorax. It has long antennae with yellow and black markings. This species can be found throughout Texas and is known for its perseverance.
14. Fraternal Potter Wasp
The Fraternal Potter Wasp is one of the many types of hornets. It is a small species, measuring only 0.2 to 0.3 inches (5 to 8 mm) long. The color of this wasp varies from black to dark brown and has light yellow stripes along the sides of its abdomen.
These types of hornets in Texas also have short stingers and do not pose any danger to humans. Its diet consists of nectar, pollen, and small insects. Its nests are made from mud and are often located near the ground or the water. This species is important for pest control since it feeds on other insects that can damage crops.
15. Four-Toothed Mason Wasp
The Four-Toothed Mason Wasp is one of the most common hornets in Texas. It has a distinctive black-and-white coloration, with four small yellow spots on its thorax. These wasps are solitary creatures and do not form colonies like other hornet species.
The female Four-Toothed Mason Wasp will construct nests made from mud, which these types of hornets in Texas use to protect their eggs. The adults feed mainly on nectar and other insects, while the larvae feed on other types of hornets found in Texas, such as the Great Golden Digger Wasp or the Southern Yellowjacket. As predators, these wasps can be beneficial to other beneficial insects and help control populations of harmful insects.
16. Wool-Bearing Gall Wasp
The wool-bearing gall wasp is one of Texas’s most common hornets. It is a small wasp with a black body and white legs and can grow up to 8 millimeters in length. The wool-bearing gall wasp is known for its hairy thorax, distinguishing it from other hornets.
It is also a solitary insect, meaning it does not form nests or colonies like many other hornets. The wool-bearing gall wasp feeds on various kinds of nectar and pollen and is an important pollinator in Texas. These types of hornets in texas species are not known to be aggressive and pose no threat to humans or other animals.
17. Spongy Oak Apple Gall Wasp
A type of hornet found in Texas; the Spongy Oak Apple Gall Wasp is a small, black wasp. This wasp species can be identified by its white markings and black thorax. The body and wings of these hornets are covered with white spots, and the antennae are mostly black.
These types of hornets in Texas are often seen on oak trees, laying their eggs in the twigs and branches, causing gall to form. These gall-forming hornets can become a nuisance when they feed on the sap of oak trees. It is important to be aware of this type of hornet, as they can cause damage to the oak trees in your area if left unchecked.
18. Coarse-Backed Red Paper Wasp
The Coarse-Backed Red Paper Wasp is one of the hornets you might encounter in Texas. It is a solitary wasp with a reddish-brown body and a slender abdomen. The wings are reddish-brown, and the legs are yellow.
These types of hornets in texas species prefer to build their nests in cavities such as walls, crevices, and other sheltered areas. They can be found all over Texas and are especially common in urban areas. They feed on nectar from flowers, small insects, spiders, and caterpillars. While they can sting if provoked, they are generally non-aggressive and pose no threat to humans.
19. Metallic Bluish-Green Cuckoo Wasp
This type of hornet is native to Texas and is usually seen in late spring and early summer. It is dark metallic bluish-green with small yellow spots on its body. The female cuckoo wasps are often seen hovering over flowers and around gardens.
They are also known to feed on caterpillars and other small insects. They are an important part of the local ecosystem and help control the population of certain types of hornets in Texas.
20. Mexican Honey Wasp
The Mexican Honey Wasp is one of the many types of hornets that you can find in Texas. This species is a solitary wasp, meaning it does not live in colonies like other wasps. These wasps have long, slender bodies reaching up to 1 inch.
These types of hornets in Texas have a unique black and yellow color pattern that helps distinguish them from other species. Their diet consists of nectar and fruits, and they are often seen hovering around flowers. While they are not aggressive like other types of hornets found in Texas, they should be avoided if possible, as they can deliver a painful sting if provoked.
21. Mealy Oak Gall Wasp
The mealy oak gall wasp is a type of hornet found in Texas. It is known for its long antennae and grayish color. The mealy oak gall wasp is beneficial as it feeds on other insect pests, such as aphids, scale insects, and caterpillars.
These types of hornets in texas form galls on the leaves of oak trees, which are often mistaken for plant diseases. The mealy oak gall wasp is a fairly large hornet species and can be up to 1 inch long. They are most commonly found in wooded areas or near sources of oak trees.
22. Dark Paper Wasp
The dark paper wasp is a type of hornet commonly found in Texas. This hornet species is mostly black, with yellow markings on the body and antennae. Its wings are clear, but they may have brown spots.
The dark paper wasp builds small nests in sheltered areas, such as under eaves, inside wall voids, or in tree cavities. They feed on small insects and nectar, and their stings can be painful. However, these types of hornets in Texas are not considered aggressive and will usually only sting if threatened.
23. Great Black Digger Wasp
The Great Black Digger Wasp is one of the types of hornets found in Texas. This species is large and black with a yellow band near its head. It can be identified by its robust body, long antennae, and pointed wings.
They typically inhabit prairies, open woodlands, and parks and gardens. These types of hornets in texas s will build burrows in loose soil and create nests. They feed on nectar and small insects such as grasshoppers and caterpillars. They are solitary creatures and pose no threat to humans.
24. Common Thread-Waisted Wasp
The common thread-waisted wasp is one of Texas’s many types of hornets. It is commonly found in the south-central region of the United States. This species has a bright yellow and black striped abdomen, making it easy to identify.
The common thread-waisted wasp uses its powerful jaws to build tunnels in dead wood and plant stems to store prey. They also use these tunnels as a safe place to lay their eggs. These types of hornets in Texas feed primarily on other insects and spiders and have been known to scavenge carrion.
25. Eastern Yellowjacket
The Eastern Yellowjacket is one of the most common types of hornets in Texas. It can be identified by its bright yellow and black stripes and definite V-shaped head pattern.
They are found throughout the eastern half of the United States but are particularly common in Texas.
Eastern Yellowjackets typically nest underground or in hollow logs, but they can also be found in tree stumps, firewood piles, and even under rocks or logs.
They are most active during summer and feed on small insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates.
These hornets in TTexas will also scavenge for food, including human food sources, which can make them a nuisance in populated areas. It’s important to be aware of their presence to avoid getting stung.
Texas is home to a variety of hornets, and understanding the types of hornets in Texas can help you identify them when you come across them.
Whether it’s a Guinea Paper Wasp, a Yellow-Legged Mud-Dauber Wasp, or a Great Black Digger Wasp, you need to be aware of many different types of hornets in Texas.
It is always important to be mindful of your surroundings, as these types of hornets may become aggressive when provoked.
By familiarizing yourself with the types of hornets in Texas, you can make sure to enjoy the outdoors safely and responsibly.