Res Nav image

Wasp Identification

Black and Yellow Wasp Image There have been over 100,000 wasp species identified worldwide. The vespid family of wasps are the most commonly encountered wasps in North America and include, paper wasps, bald faced hornets and yellow jackets. 

Due to their aggressive behavior, vespid wasps are regarded as some of the most dangerous stinging insects. When wasps build their nests inside or nearby residential homes, businesses or public spaces people frequent, pest control professionals should be hired to safely remove the wasp nest so no one gets hurt.  

For more details on wasp control, call Ehrlich Pest Control at (888) 976-4649 or schedule a visit by a FREE pest inspection online

How To Identify The Most Common Wasps

Yellow Jackets 

Picture of Yellow Jacket One of the most commonly encountered wasps in the U.S., yellow jackets are typically black and yellow and feature short legs, a black antennae, lance-like stinger, narrow waist and two sets of wings. 

There are 16 different species of yellow jackets that are prominent in North America but the most common yellow jacket species include the common yellow jacket, western yellow jacket, german yellow jacket and aerial yellow jacket. 

Unlike some other stinging insects, Vespula species yellow jackets often build ground nests that typically reach the size of a basketball. Other species of yellow jackets will also build aerial nests. While in most cases yellow jackets will only sting if provoked, they will sting a human multiple times. 

Bald-Faced Hornets 

Image of Bald-Faced Hornet Although technically classified as a yellow jacket, the bald-faced hornet is colored black and white with distinctive white head and abdomen markings (unlike the yellow-coloring of yellow jackets). 

Bald-faced hornet nests can grow to be quite large and are often shaped like a soccer ball. The nests are most often found high up in trees.

Bald-faced hornets often build their nests on utility poles, roofs, sheds or in trees. Nests can sometimes be located close to the ground which increases the likelihood of a stinging to occur. A single nest can contain 700+ bald-faced hornets. 

European Hornets  

Image of European Hornet Found in 31 states in North America, including Northeast states like New York and Southeast states like Florida. European hornets can be identified by their brownish color with orange markings. 

These wasps build their nests in natural cavities like tree stumps, or in cavities within buildings.

Common European hornet nesting sites, include hollow trees, attics, barns ad even abandoned bee hives. The largest hornet in North America, a queen European hornet can grow up 1.4 inches long. These wasps will become aggressive when they feel their nest or food sources are threatened. Most European hornet nests are found in forest settings but if a nest is located near humans, it should be removed by pest control professionals.  

Paper Wasps 

Image of Paper Wasp Paper wasps are the most common stinging insect we encounter. Brownish-colored with yellow markings, the nuisance pests have legs that are much longer than yellow jackets. 

Paper wasps also build their nests of paper-like material hang their nests from trees, shrubs, door frames, window frames, deck railings, attic rafters and porch ceilings.

Overwintering wasps are also known to build nests inside living spaces, especially rooms with cathedral ceilings. Most stings from paper wasps result in localized pain but in some cases cause allergic reactions that can even result in death.

For more details on wasp control, call Ehrlich Pest Control at (888) 976-4649 or schedule a visit by a FREE pest inspection online

Free Pest Inspection

Contact your Local Office

Let Us Call You Back


or call us free on: