Paper Wasps

Biology & Reproduction

The paper wasp is given this name because of the paper-like material they construct their nests with. They are very similar in appearance to the yellow jacket but are not as aggressive. They exist in small colonies without a worker bee system. The queens will overwinter and build nests in the spring. The founding queens are joined by other queens who help build the nest and maintain it. These secondary queens will become the workers and relegate egg lying to the first queen. However, if that queen dies then one of the secondary queens will take over the job of egg laying. A single egg will be laid in each cell of the nest and, once it hatches, will be fed other insects. The cell will eventually be capped so the wasp can continue growing.


Nests have a single layer of the paper-like material with open cells (holes). The paper wasp will hang the come from twigs and branches on trees or shrubs. This can cause concern if people are trimming branches or picking fruit. They can also hang them from porch ceilings, window and door frames, railings, and more. In the autumn the queens are likely to come inside where they will find a suitable place to overwinter. This includes skylights, chimneys, and vents.


Paper wasps are very beneficial because they help control the population of other pests. However, they will sting you if they feel threatened or if someone comes in contact with their nest. Check any trees or shrubs for nests before trimming and picking. Wasp stings can be dangerous, especially for children, the elderly, and people with known bee allergies. So don’t attempt to remove the nest yourself. Call our office to schedule an appointment to have the nest treated by one of our service technicians.

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