a wasp plots its next move on a picnic table

Bug of the Month: Wasps

How many times have you been hanging out around behind your garage or house, only to find out that wasps are nesting on your property? Or maybe you’ve encountered a particularly aggressive species, and had to run away from a wasp with a vengeance? If you’ve ever felt the sting of a wasp, then you know why they’re an unwanted pest around your home. There are over 30,000 species in the world, including both solitary and social species. Wasps are part of the order Hymenoptera and the suborder Apocrita. Wasps carry many roles in ecology – some pollinate and some are predators, whereas some solely reproduce and lay eggs. Solitary wasps will lay their eggs in the nests of other insects and their prey will be eaten from within as the wasp larvae hatch. Talk about the circle of life!

Common Types of Wasps and Their Identification

Two of the most common types of wasps are yellowjackets and hornets, both in the Vespidae family. Yellowjackets are distinguished by their black and yellow stripes, similar to bees. Hornets look similar to yellowjackets, but have white stripes instead of yellow, and are larger than yellow jackets. They live in nests alongside an egg-laying queen and non-reproducing workers. The majority of female wasps live and breed independently.

Paper wasps are another common wasp in the Midwest and make their nests differently than the other two. They have yellow and black stripes, similar to yellowjackets. Dirt or Mud Daubers look more intimidating than their non-aggressive nature really is. They are larger and thinner than most wasps, and also are yellow and black.


Wasps have a hard exoskeleton to protect their bodies. They’re composed of three main body parts, the head, the mesosoma–which includes the thorax and first section of the abdomen–and the metasoma. They have narrow waists that connect the first and second abdominal segments. Some species of females are wingless, but the majority have wings that are secured by small hooks. The hindwings are smaller than the forewings. Their larvae are often confused with maggots.

An adult wasp's diet consists of nectar, but they spend large amounts of time foraging food for their carnivorous young, particularly spiders and insects. Other wasps build nests full of immobilized prey by laying eggs on its body. Predatory wasps overcome their prey by stinging it. Some are omnivores and feed on fallen fruits.

About Their Nests

Yellowjacket nests are often difficult to locate due to their nature of building them in enclosed cavities, like underground and in holes in walls. They are grey, with a paper-mache look. They are known to be extremely aggressive in order to protect their home. Hornet nests are spherical, with a similar papery appearance to the yellowjacket. They aren’t as aggressive, but the will still protection their nests. The more passive Paper wasp creates small, grey nests that have open cells resembling honeycombs. They will sting if they feel threatened, but not as often as yellow jackets or hornets. Their name comes from the paper material they build their nests out of. Paper Wasps are not aggressive, only rarely stinging when being handled. Their nests are made of muddy cylinders in rows, often found under eaves on homes.

Let Us Take the Worry out of Household Wasp Control

Don’t let wasps around your home deter you from enjoying your yard and garden. Give Spidexx Pest Control a call at (844) 922-7732 and take the worry out of wasp control. We understand the behavior patterns of wasps and are able to protect your home year-round. Next time you’re running away from an angry wasp under the deck, or behind the garage, we’re just a call way!