Paper Wasp

Actual Size: 0.75 to 1.25”

Characteristics: Black abdomen, mahogany body with distinct yellow ring, black wings

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Habitat: Build umbrella-shaped, paper-like nests in residential yards. Nests often hang from twigs and branches, porch ceilings, and more.

Habits:

  • Eat nectar and other insects, including flies and caterpillars.
  • Female wasps will help each other build nests but only one queen will lay eggs
  • Known as semi-social wasps that live in small colonies without a worker caste

Paper Wasps in Eastern Tennessee

There are many types of paper wasps throughout the nation, and they are commonly mistaken for yellowjackets. There are different colors, but most are a brownish color with yellow markings. The easiest way to identify a paper wasp is through their nest. They are often referred to as umbrella wasps because their umbrellas can be shaped like an upside-down paper cone. Like other types of wasps, paper wasps feed on insects, spiders, and the like.

Paper Wasp Habitat

Paper wasp nests are known to look like upside-down umbrellas and have a papier mȃché feel to them. Unlike yellow jackets, paper wasp nests are somewhat open and not completely covered. Nests can most often be found either on tree branches or under eaves, attic rafters, and porch ceilings. They typically hang from a horizontal surface in a shaded, protected location. Because nests can be built directly on a home, these wasps have been known to make their way indoors through holes in attic vent screens or underneath shingles.

Paper Wasp Behavior & Stings

Similarly to mud daubers, paper wasps are considered to be beneficial to the environment for keeping the insect population under control. They also assist in pollination by feeding on nectar. Paper wasps are considered aggressive and have been known to sting repeatedly when threatened. For this reason, it’s important to never disturb their nest. Stings can be extremely painful.

If you suspect a paper wasp problem, it’s important to contact your local wasp control experts. Never attempt to knock down a nest on your own.