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Paper Wasp

Actual Size: 0.75 to 1.25”

Characteristics: Black abdomen, mahogany body with a distinct yellow ring, black wings

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Habitat: Build umbrella-shaped, paper-like nests in residential yards. Nests often hang from twigs and branches, porch ceilings, and more.


  • Moderately aggressive wasps.
  • Eat nectar and other insects, including flies and caterpillars.
  • Female wasps will help each other build nests but only one queen will lay eggs.

Paper Wasps in Salina

There are 22 paper wasp species in the U.S. Most of them are mostly brown and yellow in color. Easily mistaken for yellowjackets, paper wasps are also called umbrella wasps. Paper wasp nests have a distinctive look sometimes described as an upside-down paper cone; they typically hang from a horizontal surface in a shaded, protected location. Like other wasps, paper wasps feed on insects and spiders. Paper wasps can be highly aggressive and sting repeatedly if they feel threatened. Do not disturb a paper wasp nest.

Paper Wasp Habitat

Paper wasp nests have a papier-mȃché feel to them. They look like upside-down paper umbrellas. Unlike yellow jacket nests, paper wasp nests are somewhat open and not completely covered. Nests can most often be found on tree branches, under eaves, as well as in attic rafters and porch ceilings. Nests can be built directly on a home and paper wasps have been known to make their way indoors through cracks and openings.

Paper Wasp Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Similar to mud daubers, paper wasps are considered beneficial to the environment for keeping insect populations under control. They’re also good pollinators. However, these benefits are outweighed by the risk they bring. Paper wasps are considered aggressive. If threatened, they will sting. For this reason, it’s important to never disturb their nest. Stings can be extremely painful, and the risk is even higher for children and people who are allergic. If you have paper wasps on your property, we always recommend leaving the problem to a professional wasp control company.

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