Paper Wasp

With more than 22 species in the United States, paper wasps are a very common pest throughout the country. These wasps are typically brownish in color with yellow markings. Though paper wasps are often misidentified as yellowjackets, they can be told apart by the unique umbrella shape of their nest, which look somewhat like an upside-down paper cone. Paper wasps build their nests using chewed-up plant matter, which gives it a papery appearance, and they prefer to build their homes in shaded or well-protected areas.





 Size 0.75 to 1.25”
Characteristics Black abdomen and wings; mahogany body with a unique yellow ring.
Legs 6
Antennae Yes
Habitat Known for building papery umbrella-shaped nests in well-protected areas such as tree branches, porch ceilings, and sheds.
  • Moderately aggressive and will sting if provoked.
  • Consumes a wide variety of materials, including nectar and other insects.
  • Only one queen lays eggs, though other female wasps will help build the nest.
Paper Wasps in the Pacific North West Paper wasps are an extremely common pest throughout the United States. Colonies can contain over 5,000 individual wasps, which allows them to spread quickly. Their umbrella-shaped nests usually hang from horizontal surfaces in protected areas, such as in attics or sheds. Paper wasps eat a wide variety of substances, but they mainly consume other insects such as caterpillars, beetles, and flies.
Paper Wasp Habitat Paper wasps use the fibers found in wood and plant matter to build their nests, which leads to a very papery appearance. When completed, these nests look like upside-down umbrellas with a small open end. Shaded areas such as tree branches, under eaves, or attic rafters are popular locations for paper wasps to build their nest. Because many of these spaces are close to human residences, paper wasps are known for entering homes through attic vent screens or roof shingles, which can cause problems for homeowners.
Paper Wasp Behavior, Threats, and Dangers Though paper wasps can be beneficial to the environment by regulating insect populations, they are moderately aggressive and can sting multiple times if threatened. These stings can be very painful, and they may be life-threatening for people with a bee allergy. For this reason, it’s best to leave nests alone and call a professional wasp control company if you find signs of an infestation on or around your property.