These types of wasps are also known as digger wasps or sand wasps. Most people associate wasps with nests hanging off the roof and in the trees and rightly so. This is where the majority of wasps tend to make their home. But some species have an affinity for ground dwelling and these are known as the ground wasps.
Are they aggressive?
The ground wasps come in different species. Some are not typically aggressive towards human beings like the cicada killing wasps unlike their high dwelling cousins who are more prone to attacking people. Other species like the yellow jackets, however, likely to sting you if you come close to their dwelling. Ground wasps are also excellent at getting rid of pest insects and caterpillars that are a major problem in gardens where people are growing different types of crops. If you are an avid gardener you will most likely find yourself grateful for the presence of ground wasps nearby.
Solitary or social ground wasps
Ground wasps are categorized as either social or solitary species. The social ground wasps are part of larger colony ad behave much like bees, they have a queen whom they will protect at all costs. These are the species that can get aggressive the minute they see you coming close to them. The queen will direct the worker wasps. Yellow jackets are social wasps. Interestingly, the yellow jackets exist as ground nesting wasps and they are also have a species that lives in the trees.
The solitary ground wasp is more concerned with finding its own food and feeding its own larvae. It will build a solo nest and when its life cycle is done it will die in the nest and not vacate it like the social ground wasps vacate theirs. The eastern cicada killing wasps and the great golden digger wasps are solitary wasps.
The great golden digger wasp is orange and black in color. They are one inch in length and prefer to excavate in the sandy soil so you most likely find them near flag stone or patio stone. The eastern cicada killer wasp is big in size with a length of 1.5 inches. It is a mixture of yellow, orange and black, the wings are orange and abdomen in black with yellow. Their females are the ones that dig the burrows in order to be able to stash their eggs in there. They can dig burrows up to 10 inches into the ground.
The ground nesting yellow jackets can be found in over 30 states in the United States so their habitats can be very varied. When they are not able to burrow underground they comfortably establish their nests above.