The Truth About Paper Wasps In Jacksonville

May 28, 2020

What’s black, yellow, and flies all over? Is this a trick question? There are thousands of species of bees and wasps, and many of them share similar characteristics. However, if you spot some flying, angry-looking insects with stingers, you may be dealing with a common type of Jacksonville wasp: the paper wasp. 

a paper wasp crawling on an exterior wall

Paper wasps can be found throughout much of the United States, and while they pose some ecological benefits, you don’t want these painful pests building nests in your yard. Let’s get into how to identify paper wasps and what problems they pose to Jacksonville homeowners.

Paper Wasp Identification Tips

To the untrained eye, most wasp species in the United States look similar. In truth, wasps share a lot of similar features: they have segmented bodies with two sets of wings, bent antennae, and a long striped abdomen. Bees, by contrast, don’t have segmented bodies and tend to be stouter and smaller. If you can identify these basic components, you know you’re dealing with wasps.

Paper wasps share these common traits, with long legs and long bodies. Their colors vary: some paper wasps are yellow and brown, and some are more red than yellow.

The key thing that distinguishes these wasps from others is their paper-like nests. These pests get their name from the paper mache-looking nests they build, which are actually water-resistant walls of chewed up plant material and saliva. If you see wasps surrounding a gray, paper-like nest, you know you are dealing with paper wasps.

Why Paper Wasps Are Pests

Though paper wasps are dangerous to keep around your property, it should be noted that they are a benefit to the environment. Paper wasps are big pollinators for Jacksonville, Florida; many plants rely on these insects for pollination year round. Additionally, wasps prey on other insects, helping ensure that no population grows out of hand.

However, these helpful pollinators are best left in the wild and not near your home. Paper wasps have a particularly painful sting that you definitely don’t want to experience. Although paper wasps don’t attack unless they feel threatened, having nests in your yard is enough of a reason to be concerned. If you get too close to the nest, you might get several of these painful pests chasing you, and unlike honeybees, wasps can sting over and over.

If you’re allergic to paper wasp stings, these insects can put you into anaphylactic shock. Like other wasps and bees, their venom can be deadly to anyone with an allergy. But even if you’re not allergic to bees, why risk getting stung.

Paper Wasp Nests

The best way to discourage paper wasps is by ensuring they don’t build a nest on your property. Paper wasps tend to be attracted to properties that have high, shaded spaces, like the eaves on your roof. They also like being surrounded by wood or other materials they can make their nests from. These are factors that can’t be easily changed, but there are a few things you can do to prevent wasps from nesting around your house. These include:

  • Closing off any cracks around your house. Crevices in your walls, doorways, and window frames are the perfect spaces for paper wasps to nest in, since they are small, protected, and close to wood.
  • Keeping your trash closed off. Wasps prefer to feed on insects, but if you leave your trash bags out, they might crawl into your trash cans. 
  • Putting up a fake wasp nest. Wasps don’t like to settle down near other nests, so this could discourage them from staying around your house. 
  • Placing dryer sheets around the house. Wasps don’t like dryer sheets. While this shouldn’t be your only solution, it may be an extra deterrent.

If you find yourself already dealing with paper wasps, don’t take it upon yourself to get rid of them. Paper wasps are a year-round pest in our area that will find their way back to your home unless dealt with by qualified pest professionals. Contact Lindsey Pest Services today, and we’ll help protect your Jacksonville home from paper wasps for good.


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