Paper Wasps

Last updatedLast updated: July 13, 2022
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This flying, stinging insect can either be considered a pest to be eliminated or a beneficial insect that is to be encouraged.  With their primary food source being caterpillars that damage crops, ornamentals or gardens the paper wasp can be helpful in eliminating other pests.  However, this wasp that stings prefers to build its nest under eaves, porches, piers, in open barns or other areas that put them in close contact to man.

Wasp Elimination Yellowjackets Hornets

Belonging to the Family Vespidae, the paper wasp does have some of the same characteristics of Yellowjackets and Hornets.  Nests are developed by female wasps who use a unique blend of saliva and wood to form single layer nest containing individual cells.  An egg is laid in each cell.  Larvae hatch from these cells and are fed by worker wasps.  The size (diameter) of a wasp nest can vary from one inch to 18 inches or more.  Size of the paper nest will depend on length of warm season, supply of caterpillars used as food for larvae, temperatures and other such factors.
More on paper wasps can be found in the Vespidae article.


Wasp Elimination

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Wasp, hornet or yellowjacket elimination should always be done at dusk or dark.  As it begins to get dark, these stinging pests are generally at rest.  During this period you will get a better kill, since the wasps are not foraging for food; they are all on their nest.  Being at rest, there is far less chance of getting stung.

During warm weather, wasp nests can appear at any time.  Simply killing existing colonies leaves the area open for another nest to appear close by.  These steps should be taken in wasp elimination:

  • Shoot each paper nest with Wasp Freeze.  This product kills individual wasps quickly, but leaves no residual for returning pests.  Treating at night gives a more thorough kill of the colony.
  • After adult wasps have been eliminated, knock down as many vacant nests as possible.  Homes often are invaded with secondary dermestid pests, such as Carpet Beetles, that are present around wasp nests.  Dealing with old wasp nests is easier, less time consuming and far less expensive than eliminating carpet beetle infestations in the home.
  • Treat eaves, window and door trim or any surface wasps are likely to build nests, using a long term insecticide spray.  Wettable powders and microencapsulated products fit this description.  Demon WP and Cynoff WP are the best wettable powders to use.  Demand CS is a good microencapsulated pesticide that performs well against wasps, spiders, roaches and other household pests.   All of these products are odorless, safe for use around family and pets and give a long residual.  A long residual saves you time and money.  Monthly spraying is not necessary when you use the correct product.
    Use a pump-type garden sprayer to spray with DemandDemon or Cynoff.
  • In rare cases, wasps or hornets will build their nest in a hole where the use of wasp freeze is not possible or safe.  In this situation, dust the entrance hole with Drione Dust, using a crusader duster.  This job should also be done at dusk or dark.  Any wasps, hornets or other insects returning to the treated hole should die quickly.
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