Summer – the warm sun, colorful flowers, and the sweet smell of freshly mowed grass – is a season filled with delights. However, for most homeowners, summer also means dealing with grass-carrying wasps and other pests.
Isodontia Mexicana, or grass-carrying wasps, can quickly turn a relaxing afternoon in the backyard into an annoying pest control nightmare.
While they are not aggressive, at one point, you may find yourself with a large colony of these wasps. With that being said, eliminating their food source is one of the most effective ways of getting rid of grass-carrying wasps.
Protein-rich foods from compost piles, and even beetles all attract grass-carrying wasps to your property. So in order to keep these pests away, you need to reduce the number of insects as well as some of their other food sources inside your home.
What are Grass Carrying Wasps and What Do They Look Like?
The Isodontia Mexicana, also known as grass-carrying wasps, is a species of solitary wasp found throughout much of North America.
Usually black, they are best known for building nests along the frames of storm windows. If you see a black wasp carrying around blades of grass in its mandibles, then it’s likely you have a grass-carrying wasp.
Aside from storm window structures and frames, they also build their nesting sites in hollow plant stems, wooden planks, and wood-framed walls.
Are They Harmful?
On a general note, these wasps are not harmful and rarely sting people. In fact, when their numbers are controlled, they are considered beneficial because they help control moth populations, which are considered major crop pests.
However, homeowners and even business and commercial property owners consider them pests because of their choice to nest in and around the property.
Considered to be parasitoids, grass-carrying wasps lay their eggs inside of other insects. The larvae can then live in these hosts, and feed on the host’s body until they reach adulthood.
This is why most of these wasps can be found nesting in homes where there’s a large insect population, and this is where things start to become problematic.
Again, unless threatened, grass-carrying wasps are not aggressive and rarely sting. Considered to be solitary insects, you’d normally find them alone and they don’t go in groups or swarms.
With that being said, seeing one or two flying on your property doesn’t necessarily mean it’s concerning. However, when you see one of them carrying blades of grass and have stopped near your property, like your window frame, then it may be time to take action.
Are Grass-Carrying Wasps Beneficial?
Aside from the regular bees that we all know and are familiar with, grass wasps are also considered to be beneficial insects.
Aside from eating up crickets in your garden (which can be very disturbing and annoying during the night), they also consume nectar. This means that they’re considered pollinators and play a huge role in pollinating flowers and other plants in your garden.
There’s one downside to this though – while their intentions are good, they often mess up or damage some of your plants while hunting crickets.
Technically, crickets do no harm to your garden. Some homeowners simply find it intolerable to have a bunch of crickets running around their garden, producing the loudest sound in the middle of the night.
What Should You Do to Get Rid of Grass Carrying Wasps?
Beneficial and non-harmful – grass-carrying wasps can be annoying and disturbing to anyone especially when they’ve started to consider your home “their” home as well.
If you find yourself in a situation where you have to get rid of these wasps, what should you do? Here are some natural ways:
Initially Stop Them From Entering Your Home
This might sound like a very simple thing to do and consider, however, sealing the entryways and other cracks in your walls gives them less opportunity to nest inside your home.
Dampers, torn screens, cracks in between door frames, and window cracks are all potential entry points.
Covering these small holes can go a long way in stopping a brewing infestation.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to perform a home renovation, either.
You can get away with some cardboard, louvers, plastic sheets, and other materials that would fit the holes and act as a temporary barrier to keep grass-carrying wasps out.
If it could patch or cover those tiny openings and gaps, then it will do the trick.
Get Rid of Their Favorite Food Sources
One of the primary reasons why grass carrying wasps enter our homes is not mainly to nest. While our home is a suitable environment for nest building, these insects are also attracted to the abundance of food sources in our homes.
Since crickets and other small bugs such as grasshoppers and flies attract them, keep those pests away from your home. You may want to consider using natural bug repellents or even adding some traps in your garden.
You’d want to minimize the number of beetles in your yard or garden, as this will, in turn, lessen the number of grass-carrying wasps lingering around your property.
Of course, your compost piles, garbage bins, and pet food bowls are all potential food sources for these grass wasps too. Your goal is to ensure that most of these are untraceable for these wasps, which means they’ll have no reason or they won’t be attracted to enter your home.
If you have fruits inside your home, ensure that you properly dispose of them and clean your counters and floors to minimize any food residue.
Remember, if they can’t find any food, even though they’ve stumbled upon your home, they’ll eventually leave.
Avoid Wearing Floral Perfumes
Aside from protein, these grass wasps also feed on nectar. Unfortunately, some of them can’t tell the difference between what a real flower and a floral-scented human wearing vibrant colors.
So, if you like to wear perfumes that smell of flowers, and you’re wearing brightly colored shirts, then be aware that these insects might get attracted to you.
Build a Fake Wasp Nest
We’ve talked about grass wasps being solitary insects. This means they don’t work with other wasps and will most likely leave if they see another nest nearby.
These wasps won’t build another nest next to another wasp nest, or other insects’ nest for that matter.
If you have a makeshift or a fake wasp nest, the chances of them developing a nest in your garden or home are slim. They’d typically move on and look for other places to build their nest.
You can buy a fake wasp nest online and hang it somewhere in your yard or near an area where they usually flock.
Never Squish a Grass Carrying Wasp
When squished, these wasps release an odorous secretion that could attract even more wasps in the area.
This chemical, called an alarm pheromone, can quickly spread and be picked up by other wasps who may take the invitation to come over. This means your initial infestation will only grow and become a bigger problem.
The most important thing to remember in terms of getting rid of grass carrying wasps is to stop them from entering your home.
How can you do that? Stop them from getting in by sealing potential entry points, getting rid of their favorite food sources, avoiding wearing floral perfumes, and building a fake wasp nest.
These simple steps can help you lower the risk of having an infestation in your home or garden. While some may not work perfectly on their own, using a combination of these prevention methods should be enough to keep them away.