ID this bug (wasp/hornet)?

Anyone good at wasp/hornet identification?

These are swarming everywhere around my barn. If they stayed outside, I would not care. But, they have now chased me completely through the barn (and out the other side) several times! And they were harassing my young horse in the stall while she was trying to eat…I was afraid she was going to get stung based on how annoying they were being.

I think they might be a black mud dauber OR a great black wasp. It is fairly large (1/2 - 1 inch). They seem to show up once the sun comes out on the wet grass…they tend to fly low over the grass. I’ve seen them attack a grasshopper. Again, they can stay outside and I will leave them alone…but I want to keep them out of the barn and away from the horses stalls. They are starting to get as annoying/aggressive as the bald faced hornets. So any suggestions as to how/where they might nest (and how to relocate/remove them) would be welcome. I’ve not been able to track them going to a specific area…and they are flying through all areas of the barn.

And, I am allergic…so they need to go!

Really need something for scale. Looks like a dirt dauber but also seems a bit large for one.


I can’t really see the head, but from the behavior you describe it might be a white headed wasp (see pics on line and compare). White headed wasps are aggressive. If we go out after dark to spray a nest, they’ll fly down the flashlight path and try to get us so we have to know where the nest is and not flash a light on it while we spray. They have large paper type nests if that helps.

In Florida the mud daubers do not look like
That. Their wings are thin and long and their bodies very thin and segmented. Also of all the flying stingy bugs they seem the least aggressive towards animals or people to the extent I will let them crawl onto my hand to repatriate them outdoors when they wander in the house. They also do this weird wiggly flicky thing with their wings.

They in my experience are solitary nesters.

Where are you? That may help with an insect ID.

Things that help with insect ID, are what the body/thorax/abdomen looks like, what the head looks like, how many legs

Give this site a whirl :slight_smile:

So it is definitely not a bald faced hornet…we have those too and I know what those look like! It is a bit bigger than a bald faced hornet (I will try and get a size comparison pic tomorrow). Longer wings and body and a bit more slender body than the bald faced hornet.

I would not call these friendly…definitely would not try to pick it up and move it outside!

Location is southern NJ…about 20 miles from the coast.

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My go to for bug IDs is Antmans Hill:

Lots of very experienced experts who can tell you exactly what that guy is. It’s a really great group to follow, super informative & an excellent education.

No idea, but the iNaturalist app is really good for identifying most any thing in nature.
Just upload a photo to get started.

Do they have nests in the ground? Like little holes? Sounds (and looks) a lot like the great black wasp (in NC everyone called them cicada killers, but that’s not their actual species name). They are terrifying but usually will try everything to not sting you. They actually hunt spiders so they aren’t a terrible thing to have around…. As long as they aren’t in your barn.

The best thing you can do is find their holes and spray wasp killer directly into the hole. They are killing the bugs to feed their larvae, so if you kill the larvae they will move on.

Would a different color light work? Perhaps red or green or blue. This site says to use a red light.

To see, use a flashlight with a red filter over the bulb. Wasps can’t see red light well. At least two hours after dark, quietly and carefully approach the colony and thoroughly spray into the entrance.

i was going to suggest Great Black Wasp too – picture is a match. But they’re solitary creatures (no hive) and not known to be particularly aggressive. So may not be a correct ID if your wasps are actually swarming and chasing.

Looks like a mud dauber to me. I kill them when they come close ( they make so much mess with their nests) so I am used to seeing them squashed only.

We have some of the holes in the ground…but I can’t say that I’ve seen this specific wasp going in or out of the holes. Interesting, since we had TS Ida come through, I’ve not seen so many of them. The wasp trap has only been catching flies! One wasp did randomly fly into the tack room (as I ducked and dodged it!)…but that’s been the only one I’ve seen all week. And when I posted this…there was several a day chasing me around. Still not exactly sure what it is.

It’s possible it flooded the larvae and the wasps moved on. Or, it’s possible they are done and the larvae are doing their thing underground and the parents died off.

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