Paper Wasps


Common Name:

Paper Wasps


Scientific Name:

Polistes spp.



Adults are about 5/8″ to 3/4″ (16 – 20 mm) long. Color brownish with yellow

markings. Some species are mahogany to light red in color. They are sometimes

referred to as Red Paper Wasps or Yellow Paper Wasps depending on the color and markings.


Places Most Commonly Found:

Paper wasps hang their comb nests from twigs and branches of trees and shrubs which can cause concern when ornamental shrubs and hedges are trimmed or fruit is being picked from trees. Paper wasps also like to hang their comb nests from porch ceilings, the top member of window and door frames, soffits, eaves, attic rafters, deck floor joists and railings, etc. They will readily nest in almost any protected place imaginable, which makes paper wasp removal difficult at times. See the paper wasp picture for identification purposes.


Most Active Period:

Paper wasps are semi-social, existing in small colonies but without a worker caste. Overwintering inseminated queens begin building nests in the spring. These founding queens are then joined by other inseminated queens which assist in nest building and maintenance. Such secondary queens become functional workers and relegate egg laying to the founding queen. However, should the founding/dominant queen die, one of the secondaries can assume egg laying and assure that the nest will survive. Queens emerge from hibernation in early spring and activity continues to early to late fall when females and males leave the nest and mate near tall structures. Females then hibernate in protected areas until spring


Difficulty of Control:

Easy to control if nests can be located.




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