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Executioner Wasp Facts & Information

Protect your home or business from executioner wasps by learning techniques for identification and control.

Image coming soon
Polistes carnifex
Yellow abdomen
Brown strips
Reddish brown wings
1-inch adults


How do I get rid of executioner wasps?

What You Can Do

Never attempt to control or eradicate executioner wasps yourself. Instead, contact a pest management professional that is experienced and technically qualified to eliminate the wasp’s nest.

What Orkin Does

Your local Orkin Pro is trained to help manage wasps and similar pests. For more information on wasp control, call your local Orkin branch.

Orkin can provide the pest control solutions to keep executioner wasps in their place…out of your home, or business.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Understanding Executioner Wasps

What do executioner wasps look like?

  • Characteristics: Executioner wasps are very large, yellow and brown wasps. These wasps have mandibles (teeth) that they use to obtain wood fibers, build nests, and capture prey.

  • Body: Their abdomen is yellow with brown stripes and the wings are reddish-brown.

  • Size: The size of these wasps is from 1-1.2 inches at full maturity.

Executioner Wasp Life Cycle

Executioner wasps generally live between six to 18 months. This makes them the longest-living wasp in the world, as the average lifespan of a wasp is between 12-22 days. Queens will often live upwards of a year.

Queens feed the first eggs that hatch. After they hatch and emerge as larvae, they take approximately 40 days to mature and complete this stage of their life cycle. The larvae mature into worker wasps and take on the duties of gathering food to feed the larvae.

What do executioner wasps eat?

Executioner wasps feed on caterpillars and plant nectar, which is their primary source of energy. The adults chew up their prey and roll the prey into balls. They then bring the prey balls back to their nests to feed their larvae.

Where do executioner wasps live?

Executioner wasps are not commonly found living in the United States; however, they are sometimes found in Texas. These wasps are native to Central and South America, specifically in the countries of Mexico, Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil. Their preferred habitat is humid coastal regions and evergreen tropical forests.

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