Both paper wasps and yellow jackets are classified as wasps. Unfortunately, many people mistake one for the other, simply because they do not realize they are two different types of pests. If you know what to look for, you will be able to differentiate between a paper wasp and a yellow jacket. Here are a few of the key differences between these types of flying pests.
Yellow jackets are pests that are more commonly encountered during the summer months. Unfortunately, they can commonly be mistaken for paper wasps. Read on to learn what characteristics a yellow jacket possess.
Nests Low to the Ground
Yellow jackets commonly build their nests low to the ground or even underground. If you see them swarming near the ground, you are probably dealing with yellow jackets instead of paper wasps.
A Stockier Appearance
Another key difference between yellow jackets and paper wasps is their appearance. Yellow jackets have a stockier appearance. Their bodies are wider and rounder than paper wasps. They look like they have been eating well.
The final difference between a paper wasp and a yellow jacket is their demeanor. Yellow jackets are very aggressive and they like to sting. They love to come out and try to get meats and sweets, such as fruit. You can often encounter them during a picnic or barbeques outdoors. A yellow jacket will not act afraid of you, because they are not.
Just like yellow jackets, paper wasps are more commonly encountered during the summer months. However, they have some key features that can help you to differentiate them from a yellow jacket.
Long and Slender With a Thin Waist
A paper wasps body looks very different from a yellow jackets. A yellow jacket has a wider, more round body. A paper wasp has a long and slender body with a thin waist. Think about an hour-glass figure, where the waist curves in. A paper wasp has this feature.
Another characteristic that differentiates a paper wasp from a yellow jacket is their nesting habits. Paper wasps build aerial nests, or nests up high. You can often find their nests up in trees or on the overhangs of your home.
Only Sting in Self-Defense
The final difference between a paper wasp and yellow jacket is their behavior. Paper wasps are not aggressive and only sting in self-defense. They are more scared of humans and will back away when shooed away.
If you are dealing with an infestation of paper wasps or yellow jackets and/or you have a nest for either on your property, you should call in a professional to help remove them. Here at Perfection Pest Control, serving both Kentucky and Ohio, we can help you with all of your pest problems. Call us today to schedule your service.
Do you feel your home has been invaded by an army of yellow and black stinging insects? Considering the dangers of yellow jacket wasps, you may be right to feel concerned. However, your uninvited guests may be paper wasps that have no interest in you and your family. In fact, if you have a garden, you may want to allow your paper wasp colony to thrive. But how do you accurately identify such similar insects?
Both yellow jackets and paper wasps display these commonalities:
- Form colonies that last one year
- Create nests by chewing plant and wood fiber which they form into a nest structure with many holes.
- Are predatory omnivores, meaning they hunt other insects but will also eat nectar.
While they have this much in common, you can tell them apart by the following behaviors.
Yellow jackets scavenge meat in addition to hunting other insects, such as spiders, which is why you often see them at picnics. You may not notice any around your patio until you stoke up your grill. Once they detect delicious meat, yellow jackets tend to come out in numbers.
Yellow jackets also nest in the ground, often in abandoned rodent burrows, although some varieties will build their hives above ground. When they do, they usually build their nests with an outer shell for protection rather than the open, umbrella-shaped nests of paper wasps.
The most important difference is the aggressive tendencies of yellow jackets to sting. If they feel in any way threatened, they won't hesitate to sting. Unfortunately, when they nest in the ground, just passing by can be viewed as a provocation.
Paper wasps, on the other hand, prefer live meat, going after pestiferous insect larvae with voracious appetites. While they will sting if you actively threaten the hive, mostly they just want to eat the larvae of insects that damage your garden. Because they efficiently wipe out infestations of undesirable bugs — and do a little pollinating, too — you may wish to avail yourself of their excellent pest control capabilities rather than eradicate them.
Distinguishing Physical Features
While very similar in appearance at first glance, you can tell them apart by the following differences.
- Black antennae
- Thicker waists
- Wider wings
- Retracted legs in flight
- European variety has orange antennae
- Longer bodies
- Significantly more black than yellow
- Darker wings
- Dangling legs when in flight
- Very narrow waists making a sectional appearance
The aggressive nature of yellow jackets can threaten your family and virtually eliminate your ability to enjoy your patio in the summertime. You definitely should try to control them. However, the insect control benefits of paper wasps override the minuscule odds of attack. If your family has no member allergic to the venom of stinging insects, you should seriously consider allowing paper wasps to flourish. If you're having a tough time telling them apart, give us a call at Perfection Pest Control. We can accurately identify wasps and offer expert advice. Please give us a call today!