South Bend park swarmed with non-aggressive wasps

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Parents are taking to Facebook to warn other that they shouldn’t bring their kids to a South Bend park.

Some are concerned about a swarm of wasps infesting Brownfield Park in the Keller Park Neighborhood.

But, while they look threatening, we’re told it takes a lot to get stung by these creatures.

Local bug experts have identified the insects as blue-winged wasps or burrowing wasps.

Manager of Education and training at Rose Pest Solutions Mark VanderWerp says that the insects are not aggressive.

“They’re actually beneficial insects that hunt the white grubs that occur in yards and other areas," explained Howard Russell, an entomologist at Michigan State.

Experts say the wasps usually keep to themselves.

 “They’re best left alone. And if you leave them alone like most things in nature, they’ll leave you alone,” said the Director of Rum Village Nature Center Garry Harrington.

“There’s over a hundred different kinds of burrowing wasps that we have here, and almost all of them leave people alone, they’re just looking for dinner which is usually a kind of insect,” he said.

Harrington says the wasps emerge at the same time which is usually spring time or into summer.

“Their sting is extremely painful, but it’s really hard to be stung. You basically would have to grab it by your hands or do something really silly in order to get stung by one of these things,” said VanderWerp.

Even though the clouds were out on Monday, Dianne Konkle took her grandkids out to the park to play.

She says the wasps aren’t a problem.

“There’s nothing bothering us here,” Konkle said.

South Bend Venues Parks and Arts tells ABC57 that a safety supervisor has been out to the park multiple times and has not found anything to cause concern.

Educators say, it’s better to not move the wasps.

“I wouldn’t recommend trying to control them,” said Russell.

But, there is one type of wasp that you should look out for.

“If they’re yellow and they have stripes on their bodies and there’s a good sizable burrow and they’re coming out constantly that tells me that aha! Those are some kind of ground wasp or insect that’s going to potentially sting you,” said Harrington.

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