Ensign Wasp Control

Most Effective Products

Supreme IT Insecticide
Suspended Concentrate
As low as $54.99
Apex Cockroach Gel Bait
Gel Bait
As low as $24.99
Keith's Pro Tips

"When using bait products, it is important to clean without household cleaners and chemicals in or around application areas. Cleaning supplies and other insecticide products will drive cockroaches away from the bait making it ineffective."

Ensign Wasp Control: How to Get Rid of Ensign Wasps

This page is a general ensign wasp control guide. Follow the recommended products and steps listed throughout this DIY guide, and we guarantee complete control of the ensign wasp infestation in your property.

Most homeowners are less likely to recognize the ensign wasps, also known as nightshade wasps, hatchet wasps, or cockroach egg parasitoid wasps if they didn't appear in their homes. These pests look like black spiders with wings, and unlike other wasp species they do not sting or bite.

Ensign wasps fall under the family Evaniidae, and achieve their name from moving their abdomen up and down as if they are signaling with a flag. This little black bug with long legs falls under beneficial insects because it is a parasite of cockroaches and hunts them for their egg cases to lay their larvae in.

While ensign wasps are often a welcomed pests and harmless to people, they can become an annoyance indoors with their activities. For this reason, ensign wasps should be controlled when cockroach activity has lessened or when the pest itself is first noticed. Cockroach control is recommended along with following the products and steps listed in this DIY guide.

Identification

Before carrying out pesticide treatments, you will need to make sure the cricket-like bug in your home is an ensign wasp and not some other type of pest. Misidentification can lead you to using the wrong treatment products, which can be a waste of your time and finances. Here is a list of characteristics of ensign wasps to know what they look like for easy identification:

Ensign Wasp

  • Ensign wasps are small winged insects that grow to a length of 5 to 7 mm.
  • Their oval, or triangle shaped abdomen easily separates them from other Hymenoptera wasp species, because it is attached high on the thorax by a narrow petiole, and the rest of it hangs laterally giving it the appearance of a small hand flag.
  • Have two blue eyes, two pair of short wings, and three pair of legs that are 12-13 segmented. These small black insects can take flight often making homeowners mistake them for flying crickets in their house.
  • As adults, ensign wasps are often confused with spiders due to their black coloration and long legs on the thorax resembling that of a cricket.

Use the image and description above to help you properly identify ensign wasps in or around your home. If unsure, then contact us through phone, email, or in-person at one of store locations with a photo or sample of the pest in closed plastic container.

Inspection

After properly identifying ensign wasps within your property, you can proceed with inspection. During this phase you are looking for parts of your home or yard where ensign wasps are frequently found, and the conditions allowing it to thrive.

Ensign Wasp Laying Eggs in Oothecae

Where to Inspect

Ensign wasps are commonly found inside homes and structures throughout the United States, except in polar regions. If you find an ensign wasp in your home then this may be indication of a cockroach infestation indoors or outdoors, since these wasps lay their eggs in cockroach egg cases.

They will travel to areas where cockroaches or their egg cases are most likely to be found such as in the kitchen, pantry, bathroom, attic, in cabinets, drawers, shelves, around plumbing fixtures and appliances, and near vents.

Outdoors, this may be around the perimeter of your home, entry ways, cracks and crevices, eaves, soffits, utility penetrations. Female ensign wasps are often hunting for cockroach egg cases to lay their own eggs inside of, so look for moist areas where cockroaches are likely to be found. They may also be seen on ornamentals such as flowers since they feed on nectar and honeydew deposited on plant leaves from aphids.

What to Look For

Adult female ensign wasps often come into homes searching for cockroach egg cases, which are known as ootheca, to lay her eggs within. Ensign wasps seek various roach species, but are often encountered more when larger cockroach species such as the American cockroach, smoky brown cockroach, or oriental cockroach are present.

Depending on the species, most cockroach egg cases look like small tan, brown, or black capsules with a hardened texture. The amount of eggs in each egg case will vary by the cockroach species.

When the female ensign wasp comes across the egg case, she will line herself with the axis of the egg case then vibrate its antennae over it. Eventually, it will use its ovipositor to insert a single egg through the tough cockroach egg case. After some time the wasp larvae then hatches and eats the cockroach eggs.

Treatment

Before proceeding with treatment, you will need to wear the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect yourself against pesticide materials as well as potential cockroach waste.

Ensign wasps have a short life cycle of 2 to 3 weeks, which allows for cockroach populations to increase. To effectively control ensign wasp infestations, you first need to address cockroaches then eliminate food sources for the ensign wasp.

Step 1: Sanitize Home

Cleaning Home

Cockroaches are most troublesome in areas that are not properly sanitized and where food is prepared. Most cockroach species require food, warmth, and moisture which can be found in the kitchen, bathrooms, under sinks and toilets, beneath and behind refrigerators, dishwashers, stoves, near trash cans, and inside cabinets, pantries, and kitchen utensils such as toasters.

Wipe off food preparation surfaces with warm water to remove grease, oils, food residues and odors. Mop and vacuum the floors of your home where people or animals eat. Take the trash out on a regular basis, and make sure that it is in a container with a tight-fitted lid.

You may also need to address any moisture issues in and around your home such as repairing leaks from plumbing. Seal off all entry points like holes, cracks, and crevices in and around your home with caulk.

Step 2: Apply Bait

Apex Bait in Crevice

Once all competing food and water sources have been removed, you can then use baits such as Apex Cockroach Gel Bait. Apex Cockroach Gel Bait is a slow-killing gel bait formulated with 11 different attracts to avoid bait resistance with various cockroach species.

Since this product follows a systemic elimination plan it allows roaches to feed on this bait without immediately dying, so they can travel back to their nest to spread the poison further. This way the slow-killing bait can effectively control roach populations without developing bait shyness.

Determine how much product to use by measuring the square footage of the treatment area. To do this, measure the length and width of the treatment area in feet then multiply (length X width = square footage). The amount of Apex Cockroach Gel Bait to use is dependent on the cockroach species.

To use Apex Cockroach Gel Bait, just apply 3 drops of product per square yard to control small roaches like German cockroaches, or 5 drops per square yard for large roaches, like the American or oriental cockroaches.

You will need to apply Apex Cockroach Gel Bait near roach harborages or where else you have observed cockroach activity. Possible placements include under baseboards, under sinks, countertops, cabinets, and where pipes penetrate the wall.

To avoid stains and for easy cleanup, we recommend you apply drops of the bait gel onto index cards. Baited cards can be used to treat tight spaces like underneath appliances where cockroaches may harbor.

Leave your bait placements and check back every 1 to 2 weeks to reapply as needed. You should expect to see a reduction in roach activity within 5 days.

Apply this products only in areas inaccessible to children and pets.

Step 3: Spray Repellent Outdoors

Spraying Ornamentals

We recommend performing a perimeter application of a repelling insecticide like Supreme IT. Supreme IT is a long-lasting residual insecticide that eliminates 70 types of pests, including wasps, cockroaches, and aphids. Once applied, this repellent insecticide will continue fighting against these pests for up to 90 days.

Since this product will need to be mixed with water, you will want to use a handheld pump sprayer. Determine how much Supreme IT to use by measuring the square footage of the treatment area. To do this, measure the length and width of the treatment area in feet then multiply (length X width = square footage).

Apply 0.33 to 1.0 fl. oz. of Supreme IT per gallon of water per 1,000 sq. ft. for a perimeter application.

Fill your handheld pump sprayer with half the amount of water, add measured amount of Supreme IT, then pour in the remaining half of water. Close the spray tank lid and shake to ensure even agitation.

Apply your insecticide solution as a perimeter treatment around your structures foundation. Create a barrier by spraying 3 feet up the structure and 3 feet out. Next, treat the entry points you noted earlier in your inspection. Be sure to spray around entryways, openings created by utility pipes, the garage door, and any other openings you may have found.

Also since adult ensign wasps feed on honeydew produced by aphids, spray any ornamental plants, trees, or shrubbery in your property. Be sure to apply 1.0 fl. oz. of product per gallon of water per 1,000 sq. ft.

Keep people and pets away from treated areas until dry.

Prevention

Once ensign wasps have been removed from inside of your home, you will want to make sure they do not return. Listed below are some preventative measures to take to lessen the chances of ensign wasps, and cockroaches from returning to your home:

Perimeter Spray

  • Maintain regular cleaning in and around your home by taking trash out in sealable plastic bag, wiping down surfaces that come into contact with food like counters or cabinet shelves, mopping and vacuuming the floor and underneath kitchen appliances, and drying moisture areas like underneath or around your sink. You will also need to empty out pet food dishes each night. Additionally, food items will need to be stored in a sealable plastic container to deter food aromas. Outdoors, get rid of yard debris like leaf litter, branches, woodpiles, debris in rain gutters, and other general clutter to remove hiding places for cockroaches.
  • Seal cracks and crevices in and around your home with caulk to take away entry points and pathways to prevent cockroaches and ensign wasps from getting inside. Thin cracks can be sealed with caulk while wider crevices and voids should be stuffed with copper mesh.
  • Address humidity and moisture in your home by repairing leaky pipes, plumbing, and other water issues, especially in your basement and attic. In your yard, this may be removing standing water sources.
  • Lastly, keep up with a perimeter and ornamental application of Supreme IT. This repelling insecticide will last up to 90 days, so we recommend you make applications every 3 months.

Key Takeaways

What are Ensign Wasps?

  • Ensign wasps are a type of parasitoid wasps known to come into homes when cockroaches are present. They prey on cockroach eggs and help to lessen their populations when their larvae feeds on the cockroach eggs.

How to Get Rid of Ensign Wasps

  • To get rid of ensign wasps in your home, you will first need to control cockroach populations with proper cleaning methods, and applying baits such as Apex Cockroach Gel Bait. Outside of your home, you will then apply a repellent insecticide on your ornamentals and perimeter of your home with Supreme IT.

Preventing Ensign Wasp Reinfestation

  • Prevent ensign wasps from returning to your home by maintaining the cleanliness within and around your home, sealing points of entry with caulk, addressing moisture conditions, and applying Supreme IT on a quarterly basis as a perimeter and ornamental treatment.
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