Paper wasps are about 3’4” long and are a commonly burnt orange-brown color. They can also have black and yellow stripes making them easy to mistake for yellow jackets. Their nests are often referred to as umbrella-shaped since they hang upside-down attached to surfaces by a thin pedestal. These nests are made up of a grey paper that is about 1-2” thick with open cells facing downward with a honeycomb pattern. Paper wasps scrape wood shavings off of decks, picnic tables, wooden furniture, and other wood around your property, turning it into a paste when mixed with their saliva. This is the building material that they use to create their unique nests. Although most paper wasp nests are grey, their nest colors can vary based on the available materials in the area.

Why are wasps nesting on my house?

As paper wasps they emerge, they will begin to build their nests on various structures, including homes, decks, swing sets, storage sheds and much more. They will collect wood from wooden playsets, deck railings, fences or barks of trees to help construct their nests. Ideal nesting areas are places where they feel safer and out of the way of human and animal activity. There are not many unique factors that attract paper wasps to your specific home other than simply finding hidden areas that already exist.

Do paper wasps sting?

Since many people are afraid of wasps, seeing a nest could cause alarm. Although wasps are only moderately aggressive, they will readily sting if they feel their nest is being threatened. Their sting can be painful and can cause an anaphylactic reaction in those who are allergic. For that reason, you should call a pest control professional before trying to take down a paper wasp nest on your own.

Can I get rid of paper wasps on my own?

It’s not recommended that you approach a paper wasp nest. A single paper wasp nest can be host of up to 100 paper wasps at any given time. If you agitate the nest, it’s highly likely that they will swarm and you will be stung multiple times.

Can I prevent paper wasps at my home?

Paper wasps generally build nests on the side of your home that gets the most direct sunlight. Replacing vinyl shudders with wooden shudders can deter them from nesting behind. Vinyl usually retains heat whereas wood retains much less. Creating a shaded spot can be as simple as changing your landscaping. Work with your landscaper create natural shade over areas that have historical paper wasp nesting issues. Store bought sprays and a mix of vinegar and water can also help when sprayed on historical nesting sites before nesting season begins. With these DIY treatments, you will need to reapply several times throughout the season for maximum effectiveness. These tactics are not 100% guaranteed, but they may provide some relief for those who have recurring paper wasp nesting on their homes each year.