Paper wasps are 3/4 to 1 inch (1.9 to 2.5 cm)-long wasps that gather fibers from dead wood and plant stems, which they mix with saliva, and use to construct water-resistant nests made of gray or brown papery material. Paper wasps are also sometimes called umbrella wasps, due to the distinctive design of their nests[1] or other regional variants such as Trinidad & Tobago’s use of Jack Spaniard.[2]

The nests of most true paper wasps are characterized by having open combs with cells for brood rearing, and a petiole, or constricted stalk, that anchors the nest (see image, right).[3] Paper wasps secrete a chemical which repels ants, which they spread around the base of the anchor to prevent the loss of eggs or brood.

Most social wasps of the family Vespidae make nests from paper; although some stenogastrine species, such as Liostenogaster flavolineata, use mud. A small group of eusocial crabronid wasps, of the genus Microstigmus (the only eusocial wasps outside the family Vespidae), also construct nests out of chewed plant fibers, though the nest consistency is quite different from those of true paper wasps, due to the absence of wood fibers, and the use of silk to bind the fibers.[4]

Unlike yellowjackets and hornets, which can be very aggressive, polistine paper wasps will generally only attack if they themselves or their nest are threatened.[5] Since their territoriality can lead to attacks on people, and because their stings are quite painful and can produce a potentially fatal anaphylactic reaction in some individuals, nests in human-inhabited areas may present an unacceptable hazard.[6]

Paper wasp on a spider lily leaf. They are considered beneficial by gardeners.

Most wasps are beneficial in their natural habitat, and are critically important in natural biocontrol.[3] Paper wasps feed on nectar, and other insects, including caterpillars, flies, and beetle larvae, and they are often considered to be beneficial by gardeners.[6]

Get rid of pests and keep them away. Call Atkins Pest Management for expertise tailored to your needs. Seasonal services or one-time solutions—either way, no contracts. Just professional results.

Call us at (800) 982-6933 for a free consultation.

Questions? We have answers.
Whatever you need, we can help.

  • Atkins Simplifies My Life!

    "One of my favorite aspects of Atkins is that they are turnkey. I have one company that can clean my facilities, perform lawn care, install irrigation systems, remove snow and ice, provide pest control, and even handle my holiday lighting!"…- Dan Davis, Facilities Manager - ABC Laboratories -

    Read More
  • You Will Not Find a Better Group of People Anywhere

    “I have known Tom Atkins and the Atkins companies for over 30 years.  You will not find a better group of people anywhere.  They truly understand what “customer service” really means.  Their commitment to building a long term trusting relati…- Gary Drewing ~ Machens Mercedes & BMW  -

    Read More
  • It’s a Trust Thing with Atkins

    "From the top down, you can count on them to handle just about anything around the home. You don’t see a new face every time they show up. You get someone you can count on to do the job right and stand behind it."…- Jack Smith -

    Read More
  • Commitment to the Communities they Serve

    "Many Accolades can be given to a family owned company that has been successful for 90 years.  What exemplifies the Atkins Companies is their commitment to enhancing the communities they serve.   Many in our communities benefit daily from the extr…- Randy M. Morrow, Retired Vice President, Boone Hospital Center -

    Read More
  • Atkins Treats Our Business Like Family

    "We have used Atkins for many years for various services including lawn care and snow removal. We had used other providers in the past but have never found the high level of service with anyone that we always receive from Atkins! " - Bill Morrissey, President - Kilgores Medical Pharmacy -

    Read More
  • Atkins the Best Locally-Owned, Family Business

    “It’s my pleasure to congratulate Atkins on their 90th birthday.  You have always been the best of what makes a locally-owned, family business great.  We have worked with Atkins for all its 90 years and from one local business to an…- Steve Erdel – Chairman and CEO, Central Bank of Boone County -

    Read More