paper wasp on nest

One of the most common insect pests in Springfield is the paper wasp. These are stinging pests that create intricate nests underneath the overhangs of buildings and in other protected locations. They're called paper wasps because the material they use to make their nests is a paper-like substance that is a mixture of wood fibers and saliva. When caught early, these nests can be easily displaced and paper wasps can be motivated to build their nests somewhere other than your property. Here is a quick guide to paper wasp nests and paper wasp pests.


There are many things homeowners should know about paper wasps. Top of the list is the proper identification of paper wasp nests, especially in their early stage of development. You may already know this but paper wasp nests don't start out as big grey egg-shaped nests. They begin as small, grey hexagonal chambers. If you find a small, umbrella-shaped structure with hexagon cavities in it, you've found a developing paper wasp nest. If there are no wasps crawling on the structure, and you are able to see all of the chambers of the nest, it is safe to get rid of it with a broom. But, once the nest has grown large enough so that you can't see all of the chambers, it is unwise to whack at it with anything.

Nest Location

You are most likely to find paper wasps under the rooflines of sheds, barns and outbuildings. But they can create nests on your home and also in unexpected locations such as in trees and bushes. These nests will always be aerial but they can sometimes be near the ground. It is important to take notice of paper wasp activity. That activity can lead you to a nest. In rare cases, nests can be developed in the voids of man-made structures. You might not see a nest at all. When paper wasps do this, it can increase the danger.

How Dangerous Are Paper Wasps?

If you come face to face with a wasp in your flower bed and that wasp is far from its nest, you don't have too much to worry about. Paper wasps are mostly docile when they are away from their nests. This is because it is their nest-protection instinct that causes them to sting. It also causes them to swarm. One on one, a wasp doesn't have a reason to sting you as long as you don't take a swing at it or accidentally put your bare hand or barefoot on it. If you are stung by a wasp, however, it can be potentially dangerous. An allergy to wasp venom can develop as you grow older. While you might not have been at risk when you were young, you could be now. It is also possible to have a delayed onset of allergic symptoms. You may not have a reaction for 1 to 2 weeks after being stung. Watch for the development of hives or swelling of the throat.

How To Prevent Stings

As we've already pointed out, it is important to look for wasp activity and avoid swinging your arms when you're around a wasp. Refrain from walking barefoot in your yard and watch where you put your hands. A wasp could be crawling on your juice cup or soda can, and it would not take kindly to you giving it a kiss. But there are some other practical wasp prevention tips that can help to reduce the risk of a sting:

  • Keep beverages in a cup with a cover or in a wide-brimmed cup so you can easily see inside.
  • If you eat outside, dispose of your trash in a sealed plastic bag when you're done. Paper wasps eat protein and are attracted to meats and sweets.
  • Avoid wearing bright colors or flower patterns.
  • Remove sweet smells from outdoor recreation areas.
  • Refrain from wearing perfume, body sprays, cologne or aftershave.

The best and most convenient way to reduce the threat of stings is to have ongoing, proactive inspections for wasp nests. Life gets busy and it can really help to have a pest control program that includes wasps detection.

At American Pest Solutions, we teach homeowners what they need to know about paper wasps and also provide residential pest control programs that give proactive protection for wasp threats. Reach out to us anytime. We service the Greater Springfield area

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