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Paper Wasps: What You Need to Know

Need to get rid of wasps? Read on to learn the answers to all of your important questions. Need help? Call our professionals today to get started.

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How Are Paper Wasps Different From Other Wasps?

Paper wasps is a moniker that can refer to one of several members of the vespid family of wasps. Sometimes also called umbrella wasps, paper wasps get their name from the fact that their nests are made out of a paper-like material. Some types of paper wasps make nests that resemble umbrellas which is why people may refer to paper wasps as umbrella wasps. 

What Are Common Characteristics of Paper Wasps?

Paper wasps have slender bodies, yellow markings and black wings. They are characterized by waists that are more noticeable than bees and their colors are also brighter than that of most bee species. Paper wasps can sting, but unlike other species of wasps like yellowjackets and hornets which can be aggressive, paper wasps will typically sting only if threatened. This includes if they feel that their nest is in danger. 

Where Do Paper Wasps Live?

There are over 300 species of paper wasps worldwide with 22 species found in North America. Preferring to live in sheltered areas, paper wasps are happy to build their nests in and around your home in areas that will go undisturbed. Paper wasps will build their nests in the eaves of a house, on tree branches, protected inside corners of roofs, in vents, behind shutters, under porches, in attics—pretty much anywhere they can find a protected place.

Are Paper Wasp Stings Dangerous?

Paper wasp stings are painful and typically cause localized swelling and redness. If you are allergic to wasp stings, the sting can be very dangerous, even fatal. 

When Should I Call Pest Control for Paper Wasps?

While paper wasps are considered beneficial because they help pollinate gardens and control pest populations by feeding other pests to their larvae, they are certainly not beneficial to your wellbeing if they build a nest near or in your home. If you see a paper wasp nest on your property or in your home, call a pest control professional right away. It may seem easy to take care of a paper wasp nest on your own, but paper wasp nest removal can get dangerous quickly if not done properly.


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The creator of this review received compensation by RMICPA, LLC on behalf of Terminix®. This review is the opinion of its creator and its claims are not endorsed or evaluated by RMICPA, LLC.

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