Paper Wasps or Yellowjackets? A Common Mistake

07/24/2017


Bees & Wasps    Stinging Insects   
comparison of yellowjacket nest and wasp nest

Yellowjackets and Paper Wasps are common pests during the summer months, and it is important to be able to identify them for multiple reasons. When it comes to these two insects, it can be tricky to tell them apart. Luckily, there are a few telltale characteristics that can help you determine who is who.

why you should know the difference

When dealing with pests around your home, it is always important to have the most accurate information possible. Knowing exactly what type of insect is infesting your space is key to finding the correct methods of prevention or removal. In addition, not knowing the identity of an insect can become a safety issue if you or someone you know is allergic. They might need to take more precautionary measures when visiting your home depending on the inhabitant. 

why are they so hard to tell apart?

a yellowjacket wasp on a white background

 

The Yellowjacket and one species of Paper Wasps are nearly identical in appearance to the untrained eye. They are both yellow and black, with the colors falling into a similar striped pattern. The only recognizable physical distinction between the two is the body type (paper wasps are much thinner near the waist and is larger than Yellowjackets). However, unless the insect stays still long enough for you to get a good look, you will probably not be able to differentiate. It could also be difficult to the untrained eye if you don't have the two species side-by-side. 

 

 

 

How to tell them apart

a paperwasp on a white background

If the difference in body type is too hard to see, there is another big distinction between the two: their nests. Here are the peculiarities of each one:

Paper Wasp Nest:

  • upside down, umbrella-shaped
  • located above ground

Yellowjacket Nest:

  • usually underground or in a void (could be within a wall or tree)
  • many layers and large cells throughout 

 

Even with the help of these informative tips, it can be difficult to differentiate without the assistance of a trained professional. Keep in mind that these are both social wasps that will sting if disturbed. In fact, the Yellowjacket is considered to be the most dangerous stinging insect in the US. If you are unsure of which pest you are dealing with or are in need of removal services, American Pest is just a call away and happy to help. 






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