Yellowjacket, hornet, paper wasp
Vespula spp., Vespa spp., Polistes spp.
Range: Throughout the United States
Habitat: Yellowjackets are encountered around homes
and buildings. Nests are often located underground in an old rodent
burrow, beneath a landscape timber or in a rock wall or wall of a
building. Hornet nests resemble a large, inverted teardropshaped ball,
which typically is attached to a tree, bush or side of a building.
Hornet nests may contain thousands of wasps that are extremely
aggressive when disturbed. Paper wasps typically build their
umbrella-shaped nests under eaves and ledges. These wasps are not as
aggressive as yellowjackets or hornets.
Health risks: Hundreds (perhaps thousands) of
people in the United States die each year from allergic reactions to
the venom of these insects. They are more dangerous and unpredictable
than honeybees and should be treated with respect; nests should be
eliminated with great care and in a specific manner.
Management: If the nest can be located, it can
usually be eliminated by carefully applying spray insecticide into the
nest opening. Hornet nests have a single opening, usually toward the
bottom, where the wasps enter and exit. It is essential that the paper
envelope of the nest not be broken open during treatment, or the
irritated wasps will scatter in all directions, causing even greater
problems. Paper wasps can be eliminated rather easily with an
insecticide spray. Control measures should be taken at night for all