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Paper Wasp Identification

Frequently Asked Questions About Paper Wasps

What are paper wasps?

Paper wasps belong to the order of Hymenoptera and are a type of vespid wasp, meaning they have colonies with social structures. Typically, these colonies are small and do not have a soldier caste; they have workers (infertile females), males, and queens. The workers care for the young and maintain and protect the colony. A paper wasp colony will consist of around twenty-five wasps but may grow to a hundred during the warm seasons.

Paper wasps earn their name from the papery appearance of their nests; this is created by the wasps gathering fibers from things like dead wood and plant stems, mixing them with salvia, and constructing their nests out of them. Sometimes, these nests take on an umbrella shape, which is what earns paper wasps the nickname of umbrella wasps.

Around your Virginia property, you are likely to encounter paper wasp nests higher up in trees or other vegetation or under the eaves of garages, docks, and the siding of your home. Keep in mind these nests can be quite large and may grow up to eight inches in length if a paper wasp infestation is left to grow.

up close image of a paper wasp on a plant

What do paper wasps look like?

Like other wasp species, paper wasps have a segmented body and a strong pair of wings. They have six legs, and their waist is particularly notable for how thin it is. Paper wasps have antennae and are mostly brown with yellow markings, though some will have red or orange markings.

Are paper wasps dangerous?

Though most wasp species are fairly aggressive, paper wasps are less likely to attack and sting at the slightest hint of a threat. That said, paper wasps can be dangerous if you accidentally stumble across their nest or get too close to one buzzing around your yard. Stings from this pest can be painful and may even trigger allergic reactions in certain individuals. The risk of an allergic reaction may even apply to those without preexisting allergy conditions, thanks to the ability of wasps to sting repeatedly until they subdue the perceived threat.

If you encounter a paper wasp sting and experience trouble breathing or swallowing afterward, you should seek medical attention immediately as this is a sign of anaphylaxis. 

Preventing a paper wasp infestation

To prevent paper wasp infestations around your Fairfax, VA property, follow our expert tips below:

  • Seal cracks around your property to keep paper wasps out of your home. Finishing wood also deters them from setting up nests nearby.

  • Use peppermint oil as a deterrent by spraying it around areas paper wasps may make their nests, such as the eaves of patios, decks, and garages. 

  • Cut back overgrown foliage and trim tree branches back to reduce nesting and hiding spots for paper wasps.

  • Clean outdoor food and drink spills immediately and seal up trash promptly to stop the aroma from attracting wasps to your yard. 

If these tips don’t work to eliminate your paper wasp problem, contact SPRK Pest Solutions immediately. Our experts can provide you with helpful paper wasp removal that safely eradicates these pests from your property Reach out today and learn more about our pest control services.

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