Do Wasps Nest in the Ground?

Wasps can be found buzzing around your garden during the spring and summer. But where are they coming from if you cannot see a nest? Do wasps nest in the ground too?  

Yes, wasps do nest in the ground. You will not be able to see the nest itself but will be able to find a small opening in the ground where wasps enter and exit.

A wasp nest in the ground looks like a rodent burrow. It is not an easy task to spot an underground wasp nest. In fact, most people are unable to know they have underground wasp nests until summer has almost ended. 

As the picture at the top of this article shows, the hole is large enough for several wasps to fly in and out of simultaneously but it is still very small in comparison to the rest of your garden. Unless you see a wasp actually fly in or out, you’ll probably never find an underground wasp’s nest.

What Kind of Wasps Nest in the Ground?

Not all wasps will nest in the ground. Some wasp nests can be found in trees or in high locations. However, the wasps which nest in the ground are digger wasps, yellow jackets and cicada killer wasps.

Although most of these wasps are unlikely to attack unless they feel threatened, not knowing where their ground nest is can be problematic. Sometimes, pets, children or people can get stung by wasps if they get close to the nest.

Obviously, an above-ground nest is easy to avoid. An underground nest is nearly impossible to avoid when it’s so difficult to spot them.

What Do Ground Nesting Wasps Look Like?

To eliminate the wasp problem in your garden, it is important to identify what ground-nesting wasps can look like. You need to focus on certain characteristics to know if you have ground-nesting wasps:


Wasps generally have black and yellow stripes. However, other wasps have different coloured bodies, like the golden digger wasp, which is black and orange. Unfortunately, there are no major colour differences between ground-nesting and other wasps.  


Ground nesting wasps are bigger than those found above ground. Usually, wasps that are seen in gardens are not even an inch long. But ground-nesting wasps are big and can grow as large as two inches. 


Some wasps will fly in groups, and if that is the case, then they may be nesting ground wasps. Ground-nesting wasps, such as yellow jackets, prefer to stay together in case someone disturbs their nest.

However, there can be some species of wasps that prefer to lead solitary lives. For instance, the golden digger wasp does not like being in groups. 

Body Shape

Wasps that live above ground will have thick abdomens. However, burrowing wasps that are found in the ground have slim bodies. 

How Do You Get Rid of Wasps Nests in the Ground?

If you’ve found a wasp’s nest in the ground and want to get rid of it then you have several options to get rid of it:

Diatomaceous Earth

One of the most effective methods which work against many insects is a powder called diatomaceous earth. For humans, this powder is soft, but against insects, it feels like glass. This powder is abrasive and will cut any insect it comes into contact with. 

Diatomaceous earth is effective against wasps. One by one, it will kill the wasps and eventually the entire nest. You can use diatomaceous earth by dusting it on any hole you find in the ground that you suspect of being the opening to a nest.

Usually, any opening in the ground is an indication that it is a wasp nest. After dusting the while with the powder, ensure to cover the hole with a rock. 


You can also get rid of wasps by using aerosol pesticides. If you spot any openings in your garden soil, it is an indication that there is a wasp nest. You can take the aerosol spray and spray the opening thoroughly.

However, it is important to ensure that you let the spray sit for a while and see if there are any active wasps. You can repeat this process until you are sure that the wasps are dead. 

While doing so, it is important to wear protective gear because wasps can sting you during the process. 

Soapy Water 

Another effective method against underground wasp nests is soapy water. You need to use this method during the night when the insects are asleep. You can cover the hole with some fabric and then get some soapy water. 

It is important to cover the hole carefully and ensure that there are no escape routes; otherwise, the wasps can get out.

You can make a small hole and pour the soapy water through it. The soap will impair the wasp’s ability to fly and will drown the hive. In addition, the fabric covering will ensure that no wasps get out. 


Some species of wasp can nest in the ground. It becomes difficult to get rid of such wasps as spotting the nest becomes tricky. You can tell that there are wasp nests inside the ground if there is an opening.

The most obvious sign, of course, is if you see wasps flying in and out of small openings in the soil.

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