Paper Wasp Facts
These wasps, sometimes called umbrella wasps, are common in the United States especially in the northeast. While some consider their pollinating habits beneficial, it is not advised that these wasps be left near the home.
Paper Wasp Stings
They do sting, and their venom may cause allergic reactions in some. Furthermore, these wasps are more likely to defend a nest and attack threats than they are to simply relocate. Their stings can be painful, and may cause allergic reactions, so care is needed when handling these insects.
Paper Wasp Infestation
Paper wasps’ nests are made of materials commonly found around the home, namely pieces of wood (usually from fences) and dry material from plant stems. Unlike the European hornet, they do not typically use trees to create their nests, and thus their nest-making activities may be harder to spot. Once a nest is located however, it is very easy to identify as a paper wasp’s given its unique shape.
The paper wasp’s nest is usually held to a dry elevated area by a stem of nest material, and the rest of the chambers/cells hang down in the shape of a common soup bowl. This combination of the half circle with the stem gives the nest the appearance of an upside down umbrella, hence the nickname umbrella wasp.
Very similar to their cousin breeds of wasps, paper wasps are partial to nectar and pollen. In the early stages of life the majority of paper wasps are fed caterpillars, always paralyzed and placed in the nest cell of developing larvae.
This wasp is social by nature, and does live in colonies. While the colonies and nests are typically smaller than some of the other species of wasps, the paper wasp still presents a danger to homes with nests possibly containing up to 200 insects. This social nature further means that paper wasps are more prone to aggressiveness, but typically only in defense of the nest. This can be exacerbated by the fact that the top of the nest remains open, leaving nearby humans more open to paper wasp stings if they aggravate one.
Types of Paper Wasps
Paper Wasp Identification
Commonly described as: umbrella wasp
This wasp is usually predominantly brown, with orange or yellow stripes on the abdomen. Some variations appear to have similar colors to yellow jackets, which can make them difficult to identify or distinguish. Their nest however (described below) is one of the best ways to identify it, as the shape is somewhat different from other colony wasp nests.
Paper Wasps In The Garden & The House
Because of the somewhat flittish nature of this wasp it may be easier to prevent the spread or development of further generations. Furthermore because of the design of their nest (and the small size of it) it could be a simple matter of knocking it down. It is important to remember that when altering or touching the nest of any insect you are putting yourself and those around you at risk to be stung. If that is an acceptable risk, then one swift knock to the stem of the nest (the portion attaching it to your house) may be an easy way to solve the problem.
If you notice a nest being constructed in a certain area, while the wasp is away and collecting material you might consider taking an insecticide to the general area in the hopes of deterring it from creating one there. A similar approach may be taken with corners and around eves to proactively stop the relocation of the wasp.
Frequently Asked Questions About Umbrella Wasps
What is the difference between paper wasps and bees?
Paper wasps are more slender and have smoother looking bodies than bees. Bees look rounder and hairier than wasps. Also, wasps prefer protein-rich foods like insects, while bees eat pollen and nectar.
What is the difference between paper wasps and hornets?
Paper wasps are not as large and rounded as hornets tend to be. Hornets are a subspecies of wasps.
Are paper wasps aggressive?
The paper wasp is not as aggressive as its cousin, the yellow jacket. Paper wasps will sting if their nest is disturbed or the wasp feels threatened. If you or a family member are stung by a paper wasp, treat it as you would any other bee sting. Seek medical attention immediately if you are showing signs of being allergic.
Benefits of Professional Paper Wasp Pest Control
A pest management professional has the education, equipment and skills necessary to effectively address a paper wasp problem. Finding and treating the paper wasp nest can be challenging, especially if the main nest is hidden somewhere outside. A pest management professional provides their expertise to identify the pest problem and determine the best possible solution to resolve the paper wasp infestation.