A ground wasp.

by Lilly Soroko

On Aug. 4, the Friends of the Wissahickon reported that ground wasp nests had been spotted on the connector trail between Blue Bell and the Orange Trail.

Depending on their behavior, ground wasps can be separated into two main groups: social and solitary. Social ground wasps, like Yellow Jackets, are more defensive of their nests and are more likely to sting intruders. However, solitary ground wasps make up the majority of the U.S. ground wasp population, and while these wasps are capable of stinging as well, they are virtually harmless when left alone.

Ground wasps can be easily recognized by two characteristics: their two pairs of wings and the presence of a constriction between their thorax and abdomen. Yellow Jackets can also be easily recognized by their bright yellow stripes.

Solitary ground wasps are common and beneficial, as they prey on damaging insect pests. However, the social type of ground wasp can become a problem if their nests are built in heavily trafficked areas. Therefore, the FOW suggests to avoid areas with ground wasp nests and to use caution when hiking between Blue Bell Park and the Walnut Lane Bridge.

Info on ground wasps from orkin.com

Maps showing connector trail where the FOW has warned of ground wasps.