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Paper Wasps

Paper Wasps
Class: Insect
Other Names: Umbrella wasps (after shape of nest)
Color: Reddish brown to dark brown to bright yellow and black (varies with species)
Size: ½ inch to 1 inch
Legs: 6
Diet: Caterpillars, flies, beetle larvae, sometimes fruit
Hazard: They can sting, but usually refrain unless their nest is threatened.
Interesting Fact: When they emerge in the spring, several queen paper wasps will sometimes work together to make a new nest. Eventually one dominates the others, who become workers in the new nest.
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How Do Paper Wasps Build Their Nests?

If there’s an insect nest attached to your home or in your yard that looks something like a hot air balloon or an umbrella, there’s a good chance that you’re playing host to a group of paper wasps.

Paper wasps are social creatures that build their nests from paper they make themselves, using fibers collected from live plants and from the wood used for posts, decks, sheds, etc. These gray paper nests may house up to 200 hexagonal cells where the female lays its eggs.

Nests are attached to some structure at the top by a single point. Some favorite spots include window eaves, porch ceilings, door frames, deck joists or hedges, twigs, and branches. Mature nests have only 20 to 30 adults.


How to Identify a Paper Wasp

Paper wasps are a fairly common sight in Maryland.

These creatures have:

  • Slender bodies with thin waists
  • Long, thin legs
  • A variety of colors from reddish brown to dark brown, to bright yellow and black

They are slower in flight than bumblebees, but unlike bumblebees, they can sting repeatedly without dying because of their smooth stinger. Only the females can sting, and they usually attack only when their nest is threatened.

Paper wasps are active during the day. They are often considered as friends to gardeners since they like to eat caterpillars, flies, and beetle larvae that go after vegetable plants.

What Should I Do with a Paper Wasp Nest?

Unless paper wasps are living in an area where they are likely to feel threatened (and thus sting), you can probably leave the nest alone. Paper wasps don’t usually use the same nest from year to year. The workers die off each year and the queen is the only one who lasts through the winter. She finds a dry, protected place to spend the cold months and then emerges in the spring and begins building a new nest.

If paper wasps have built a nest where it must be removed (over your front door, for example), you can spray with insecticides to kill off them off.

If you do decide to spray the nest, you should:

  • Work at night
  • Be sure to wear protective clothing
  • Not shine light into the nest, since that may anger the wasps and they will come after you
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Schedule Paper Wasp Control in the Baltimore, MD Area

If you don’t want to even chance getting stung, there’s a better solution. Call Brody Brothers today and have our pest control experts remove the paper wasp nest so you don’t risk getting hurt.

To schedule paper wasp control in Baltimore or a surrounding area, give us a call now at (410) 653-2121 or contact us online today!