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You may be hearing a lot about hornets in the news lately. The appearance of murder hornets in the continental United States has caused some Texans to be concerned. If you're one of them, you can rest easy. We don't have any murder hornets in Texas, and we don't foresee a problem with these hornets anytime in the near future. We do, however, have a large wasp that might make you think murder hornets have come onto your property. To make matters even worse, it has the word "killer" in its name. Today, we're going to talk a little bit about cicada killer wasps and why you don't want them in your yard. We're also going to take a look at the only hornet known to be in Texas. Here's what you need to know.

Cicada Killer Wasps

It is important to start with some clarification. All hornets are wasps, but not all wasps are hornets. One of the characteristics that make a wasp a hornet is its size. If this was the only criteria, cicada killer wasps would definitely be hornets. A cicada killer wasp can be as large as two inches in length. But other criteria must be met. One of the reasons the cicada killer wasp breaks the hornet classification is due to its nest creation. Hornets create aerial nests out of paper. Cicada killer wasps create burrows in the ground. This characteristic is why they're not good to have in your yard. A cicada killer wasp can displace as much as 100 cubic inches of soil.

How dangerous is a cicada killer wasp?

If you're a cicada bug, you should be very scared of cicada killer wasps. These insects have a strong preference for cicadas. But, as a solitary wasp, they're not overly dangerous to humans. A cicada killer wasp has no interest in stinging you. You're too large to feed their babies, and they do not have a nest-protection instinct like social wasps do. But that doesn't mean you can't be stung. The scary-looking stinger on a cicada killer wasps can hurt quite a bit if it is plunged into your skin. This can happen if you handle one or sit on one by accident. So it is best to not have these wasps around your home.

Bald-Faced Hornets

The only known hornet species in Texas is the bald-faced hornet. Unlike many other hornet species, these hornets are somewhat small. But this is typical for hornets in the United States. Bald-faced hornet drones are around 5/8 of an inch long. When compared to its cousin, the yellow jacket, this is large. A yellow jacket drone is around 3/8 of an inch long. But that 5/8 of an inch doesn't measure up to the 2 inches of a cicada killer wasp!

Important Facts About Bald-Faced Hornets

  • These hornets can sting multiple times without losing their stinger.

  • A sting from one of these hornets can lead to a hospital visit for anyone who is allergic to their venom.

  • These hornets create paper-like aerial nests.

  • A bald-faced hornets' nest is guarded by security drones that fly around the outside and warn of approaching danger.

  • These are social hornets that have a nest-protection instinct. If the nest is in danger, the drones release a pheromone that causes other drones to gather into a swarm. In this state, they are very aggressive.

  • These large wasps can be mistaken for yellow jackets because they have the same striking contrast of color. There is a difference, however. Bald-faced hornets tend to be black and pale, not black and yellow.

What To Do About Hornets

The best protection from bald-faced hornets and social wasps like the yellow jacket and the paper wasp is to have a year-round pest control service. This is where we can help. All-Safe Pest & Termite offers advanced pest control for residents in Fort Worth. If you're looking to protect yourself and your family from wasp stings, it pays to have routine visits from a licensed pest professional. Reach out to us and request an inspection to get started. Life is a whole lot nicer without wasps around. Let our pest control team get your protection in place today.

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