Paper Wasp Facts & Information

Everything you need to know about paper wasps

Paper wasps generally have a similar body shape to yellow jackets, but somewhat slimmer with a thin “waist,” six long legs, and an almost triangular side view, as well as two wings and antennae. They are mostly brown with some yellow coloration. Each of the known paper wasp species share similar traits of brown and yellow coloring, but they also have different bands of colors and markings that separate them from one another. Some species of paper wasp may even have hints of bolder colors like red, or even brighter colored lines compared to others. Paper wasps get their common name from the paper-like material out of which they make their nests. Paper wasps are sometimes called umbrella wasps, after the shape of their distinctive nests.

These stinging insects are semi-social creatures, as they typically live in small colonies but do not have a worker caste. There are about 22 known paper wasp species in North America, and hundreds in the world. Similar groups to paper wasps include yellow jackets and hornets. If you see a lot of them, you may want a wasp exterminator to come in to start the paper wasp removal process.

Not the wasp you have?

How Did I Get Paper Wasps

Paper wasps eat nectar and other insects including caterpillars and flies. In the autumn, future queens will seek places to spend the winter and may find their way indoors. You probably aren’t doing anything specific to attract paper wasps but cleaning up sweet spills and making sure garbage is not only cleaned up quickly but put into tightly closed garbage cans will certainly help. They eat other insects so having routine pest control can help take care of that attractant. But paper wasps are around because… nature. So, you’re probably not doing anything wrong.

Where Do Paper Wasps Live

Paper wasps often build nests in residential yards, so one of the main signs of an infestation is the physical sighting of the nest itself and nearby wasps moving around the nest. Paper wasps eat nectar and other insects including caterpillars and flies. In the autumn, future queens will seek places to spend the winter and may find their way indoors. Then, in the springtime, they will emerge to build their umbrella-shaped nests that look as though they are made of paper. Paper wasps build their comb nests to hang from objects like twigs and branches of trees and shrubs, porch ceilings, the tops of window and doorframes, soffits, eaves, attic rafters, deck floor joists, railings, and more. Each nest has open, uncovered cells where the eggs are laid. Other females will help build future nests, and only the one queen will lay eggs for the colony. Once that queen dies, a new egg-laying female will take her place. While not an aggressive species by nature, paper wasps will sting if they are disturbed or their nest is threatened. It’s unusual for an impregnated paper wasp to sting, but it can happen.

What Problems Do Paper Wasps Cause

Paper wasps are not normally aggressive, but they can sting multiple times if they feel like they need to defend their nest. Since their nests are built out in the open it is pretty easy to disturb them without meaning to. And their nests can be built just about anywhere regardless of size. Outdoor play areas whether it’s in your backyard or a community playground are popular spots for them. So, having a pest control company to provide wasp treatments is a good idea if you need wasp control.

How Can I Prevent Paper Wasps

The best way to prevent a paper wasp infestation and the potential of getting stung is to make your surroundings less attractive to the stinging insect. Before trimming shrubs or hedges, or picking fruit, check the plant for paper wasp nests to avoid contact with these stinging insects. Seal cracks and crevices in your home or business with a silicone-based caulk, repair any tears in screens, and try to keep doors closed to prevent paper wasps from entering.

Keeping food covered, especially when outdoors, will also help keep these insects at bay when they are in search of nourishment. When spending time outside, people should avoid wearing strong fragrances and opt for unscented hygienic products. Likewise, they should wear shoes that cover and protect their feet from rogue paper wasps.

Why Waltham for Paper Wasp Control

We’re passionate about keeping stinging pests out of your home or business because we live and work here – it’s our neighborhood, too. With our 130 years of experience keeping homes and businesses in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island safe from pests, Waltham has the experience you can trust.
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