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Paper Wasp


Paper wasps are flying insects often mistaken for yellow jackets. Seen as beneficial to gardeners, these insects excel at controlling the populations of insects that feed on plants. In spite of these benefits, care should be taken when near wasps and their nests, as they will sting if they feel threatened.


Other Identifying Features:

  • Wings are smoky black that fold lengthwise when at rest.


Differences in Nests:

As mentioned previously, paper wasp nests are umbrella shaped with exposed cells. Yellowjacket nests are typically built in concealed areas, like burrows or wall voids, although some species will build enclosed aerial nests.


While paper wasps are ecologically beneficial, they can be aggressive if provoked. Venom from stings can cause allergic reactions, so it is advised that any nests in close proximity to home or in high traffic areas be removed by a licensed professional.

Did You Know?

  • Only females have the ability to sting. The stinger is part of an egg-laying structure called the ovipositor, which males do not have.
  • Wasps live in caste systems that are not always identified by different physical features. Instead, behavior is often necessary to identify roles.


Yellow Jackets


Yellow jackets are a flying, stinging insect that are often mistaken for paper wasps because of their similar shape and coloring. Although they can be beneficial to local ecology, yellow jackets will sting if provoked, which can lead to allergic reactions. Therefore, it is important to know what to look for and to avoid contact if possible.


Other Identifying Features:

  •  Because yellow jackets feed on meats and sugars, they are often found around trash cans, grills, drink containers, and other areas where meat or carbohydrates are found.


  1. Wear shoes at all times when outside.
  2. Keep trash cans covered and all cooking areas clean.
  3. Drink from containers that can be closed.
  4. Avoid wearing sweet-smelling perfumes.
  5. Do not swat at yellow jackets as they will sting if provoked.
  6. If you notice yellow jackets on or around your home, contact a licensed pest control professional.


Mud Daubers


Mud daubers are wasps that build nests from mud. While most species actually build their nests, others like the metallic-blue mud dauber move into nests vacated by other species. Mud daubers build nests around paralyzed spiders and insects which are left for their young to feed on. These wasps are rarely aggressive and don’t often sting.


While mud daubers are rarely aggressive, licensed pest control professionals should be contacted. More aggressive and dangerous species often move into these nests and should be treated with care. Furthermore, nests should be destroyed as they can host populations of cabinet and carpet beetles. These can be of further detriment and expense to home and property owners.