Paper Wasp

Actual Size: 0.75 to 1.25”

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

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

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


  • Known as semi-social wasps that live in small colonies without a worker caste
  • Eat nectar and other insects, including flies and caterpillars
  • Female wasps will help each other build nests but only one queen will lay eggs
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Paper Wasps in Las Vegas or Nevada

These wasps are long-legged, elongated, and slender waisted. To the casual observer, they may appear to be black but are most likely golden brown, or darker, with large red or yellow patches. Paper wasps are the most docile of the three main social wasp species. They tend to only become problems when they build their umbrella-shaped nests directly over doorways or other areas (such as under a picnic table) where close human interaction cannot be easily avoided. Like other types of wasps, paper wasps feed on insects, spiders, and the like. This helps keep the insect population under control.

Paper Wasp Habitat

Paper wasp nests are known to look like upside-down umbrellas and have a papier mȃché feel to them. Unlike yellow jackets, paper wasp nests are somewhat open and not completely covered. Nests can most often be found either on tree branches or under eaves, attic rafters, and porch ceilings. The nests, in which the egg cells open down, usually range in size from 15 to 50 cells. Because nests can be built directly on a home, these wasps have been known to make their way indoors through holes in attic vent screens or underneath shingles. Once inside, they can be aggressive and dangerous for you and your family.

Paper Wasp Behavior & Threats

Similarly to mud daubers, paper wasps are considered to be beneficial to the environment for keeping the insect population under control. They also assist in pollination by feeding on nectar. However, these wasps can be aggressive and sting more than once when they feel threatened. For this reason, it’s important to never disturb their nest. Stings can be extremely painful.

If a paper wasp nest is located on your property but away from high-use areas, consider leaving it alone. Always contact your local wasp removal experts for help with paper wasps or their nests.