Paper Wasps - School IPM - USU Extension

    Paper Wasps

    Polistes spp.

    Wasps Fact Sheet: English, Spanish.

    Wasp on nest

    Paper wasp on nest (Alvesgaspar, Wikimedia Commons)

    Wasp nest

    Paper wasp nest (Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University,


    Paper wasp (Johnny N. Dell,


    • 5/8 - 3/4 inch long
    • black with yellowish-white face; no hairs
    • long legs that hang in flight
    • abdomen at anterior end gradually slopes
    • appearing longer and more slender than yellowjackets

    Nesting Habits

    • social
    • colony dies off every fall; fertilized queens overwinter
    • nest on building eaves, play equipment, benches, any hollow pipe, etc., or in plants/trees
    • nest is open, umbrella shaped, with all wasps exposed
    • queens start new every spring; colonies grow throughout the summer months


    • insects
    • nectar


    • nests pose a health risk to humans
    • not as aggressive as yellowjackets or hornets

    IPM Recommendations

    • Monitor for nests from early summer - fall.
    • Purchase and use a bee veil, suit and gloves.
    • Minimize nesting habitat around property.
    • Install tight-fitting screens in windows.
    • Nest removal: wear protective bee veil, suit and gloves; early in the morning, crush nest and remove it, then clean nest area with soap and water to remove pheromones.

    Additional Resources

    IPM for Stinging Bees and Wasps: Integrated Pest Management in Sensitive Environments (University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension)