How to Identify Wood Wasps

How to Identify Wood Wasps. Most people notice when wasps are swarming. But wood wasps may also be lurking in-and slowly devouring-your overhangs, porches, door frames and window frames. How do you go about identifying wood wasps, the medium to large-sized wasps that live in and feed on wood?

  1. Look for woodpeckers and other birds going after the wood. Birds can often hear larval wood wasps moving around inside the wood and are looking for their next meal.

  2. Try to find holes in the wood. Exit holes, where the wood wasps leave their nests, are about 1/4 inch in diameter. In some cases, you may find between 10 and 50 exit holes in places with a large colony of wood wasps.

  3. Look for adult wasps flying in and out of the exit holes, which may be a sign of female wood wasps nesting in preparation for laying eggs.

  4. Examine a wasp if you can. An adult wood wasp is metallic blue-black, 1 inch to 1.5 inches long and, unlike other wasps, the waist of the wood wasp does not narrow.

  5. Try to determine how big the problem is if you're pretty sure you've identified wood wasps, then research the options available to you to eliminate them.


Wood wasps live in and feed on mainly softwoods such as pine, spruce and fir.


Wood wasps will eat through siding and even asphalt as a means of getting back to the area where they have built nests. Wood wasps have a long life cycle that can take years to complete, so a lot of damage can be done by wood wasps before you detect and identify them.