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Great Golden Digger Wasp

Summary: The Great Golden Digger wasp is fearsome looking, but they rarely sting. They are great insect hunters and very beneficial for gardens, so they should not be controlled or killed.

Jill R, St. Croix, Canada asks: I have large wasps in my garden and want to know how to get rid of them.

Dear Jill: The answer to this question is you don't want to get rid of these wasps. They may scare you because of their size and because they are very curious about people and pets, dive bombing about. But, regardless of how fierce they look they rarely sting. Don't swat at them. Leave them alone and they will leave you alone, too.

These are Great Golden Digger wasps which are commonly found throughout north America. They lay their eggs in burrows and are often


seen flying low across lawns searching for insect prey. They are doing their part to eliminate insects that otherwise would do damage to the very garden you wish to rid of these “pests”.

My advice would be to take a deep breath and learn to live with these wasps. Not only are they protecting your garden, they are pollinators, as well. Now, if this is not possible, you can always treat every hole you discover with Tempo 1% dust. This will kill off adult wasps as they come and go from the nesting hole.

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Karen P.
09 Jul 2011, 09:59
As a biologist, I can agree 100% with the exterminator on this one. Diggers are solitary wasps, as is the "3 inch digger" mentioned above, which was likely a Cicada Killer. Solitary wasps have to queen or storehouse/hive to defend. They are very very unlikely to sting! I've lived with at LEAST 7 species of wasps.. both solitary and my yard over the years, and have NEVER.. I repeat... NEVER been stung by "MY" wasps. Even the Yellow-jackets learned to chill out when I came by. The wasps kept my veggie garden free of pests, enabling me to have an organic garden for 15 years! Thank you wasps. Give 'em a chance to prove their value to you. Learn about what you most fear, and the fear will disappear, replaced with appreciation..or maybe, dare I say it? Admiration?
Karen P.
09 Jul 2011, 10:03
OOps... edit above... "Solitary wasps have NO queen or storehouse to defend." Sorry. Typo! :/
Rebecca Smith
10 Jul 2011, 17:26
I'm not usually one to hate wasps or bees as I firmly believe they're an asset to my yard, however, I can't even walk around my yard barefoot anymore.. they fly so low and are so passive, it's easy to miss one. I just accidently stepped on one and those damn things hurt! My whole toe is throbbing!
Donna Legere
17 Jul 2011, 09:44
These insects have recently shown up in my riding ring. While you seem to say they are a benefical insect, my horse thinks otherwise. I really need them to leave or I can't ride. What do I do?
Ask the Exterminator
18 Jul 2011, 11:31
These wasps like bare areas void of grass or weeds. Your riding ring is perfect for their nests. Once you notice the adult wasp it is probably too late to prevent next year's hatch. You will have to apply a pesticide dust into each and every hole, leaving the hole open to allow the wasp to come and go and become exposed to the dust. I recommend a dust called Tempo 1%, available on this website.
Sarah C
19 Jul 2011, 15:12
We have these digging inbetween the bricks in the steps to our pool. As avid gardeners, we are happy to have any critters that may help! However, as it gets hotter and we are more frequent users of the pool the chances of stepping on one are getting greater. Any suggestions on how to encourage them to move elsewhere?

If they could get rid of the woodchucks we might actually be inclined to keep them!
Ask the Exterminator
19 Jul 2011, 15:36
Fill a 32 oz spray bottle with water. Add a few drops of liquid dish soap and 2 tbsp liquid cayenne or hot pepper to the bottle. Shake the bottle to combine the ingredients and spray on surface areas to repel wasps.
31 Jul 2011, 17:36
Thanks Exterminator. I had two digger wasp holes in my paver walkway a few years back . . . now I have at least 25! I'd love to leave them be, but they're making a real mess of my walkway. I'd rather repel them in the first place than kill them.
05 Aug 2011, 19:39
I have these insects boring holes in front steps where there is sand, could you tell me how to get rid of them. Thanks
Ask the Exterminator
07 Aug 2011, 08:02
Post your question by clicking on the "Ask the Exterminator a Question" button at top of this page and I'll reply.
11 Aug 2011, 10:52
I just found a huge insect burrowing in the crack between slabs of my driveway. It doesn't look like the golden digger wasp pictured above. I looks more bee-like in it's color, but I'm not sure what it was. any way I can upload a picture?
Ask the Exterminator
12 Aug 2011, 16:41
Sounds more like a cicada killer.
24 Aug 2011, 17:09
man, now i feel bad for closing the holes up and pouring poison down em. :( hopefully they stick around. i just started gardening this year!
20 Sep 2012, 12:08
I got up this morning to about 50 of these holes in my back yard. I had no idea what they were from until I saw the huge wasps that were digging out the holes. I normally spray all unwanted bugs/insects with a mixture of water and liquid dish soap so I thought I would give it a try on these nasty wasps. After a few good shots of my soapy spray they died in about 15 seconds.
If interested in trying my spray, I mix 1 gallon water to about a half cup of cheap dish soap ... works like a charm ... good luck!
29 Jun 2013, 12:09
We live in SE Texas and we have some of these Golden Digger Wasps in a flower bed outside our sons'bedroom window. Few years ago I got stung by a wasp in my finger (by accident), when one of this was standing on a door know inside the house and it did not see it when I opened the door. It was really painful.
Every time, a wasp makes its way inside the house, I spray it with "window cleaner", it works on any flying insect and even spiders!. I can't imagine getting my 18 month old near a wasp because he may be trying to touch it by curiosity.
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