Paper Wasp

Actual Size: 0.75 to 1.25”

Characteristics: Black abdomen, reddish-brown body, and distinctive yellow rings.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Habitat: Most easily identified by the umbrella-shaped, paper-like nests. These usually hang from twigs, branches, porch ceilings, eaves, and other aerial spaces.


  • Are moderately aggressive and can sting multiple times.
  • Primarily consumes nectar and other insects, such as flies.
  • Females will help build nests, but only one queen lays eggs.

Paper Wasps in Memphis TN Metro Area

In the United States, there are more than 22 species of paper wasps, and the majority of them display a brownish hue with yellow markings. These wasps are occasionally mistaken for yellowjackets and are commonly known as umbrella wasps due to their nest shape. Identifying paper wasps is often simplest by observing their nests. These nests resemble inverted paper cones and are usually suspended from a horizontal surface in a shaded and sheltered area. Similar to other wasp varieties, paper wasps primarily feed on insects, spiders, and similar prey.

Paper Wasp Habitat

Paper wasp nests bear a resemblance to inverted umbrellas and possess a papier-mâché texture. Unlike yellow jackets, the nests of paper wasps are partially exposed and not entirely enclosed. These nests are commonly discovered on tree branches or underneath eaves, attic rafters, and porch ceilings. Since they can construct their nests directly on homes, paper wasps have been observed to enter indoor spaces through gaps in attic vent screens or beneath shingles.

Paper Wasp Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Like mud daubers, paper wasps play a beneficial role in the environment by helping to regulate insect populations. Additionally, they contribute to pollination through their consumption of nectar. Paper wasps are regarded as aggressive and have a tendency to sting multiple times when they feel threatened. It is crucial to avoid disturbing their nests in order to minimize the risk of being stung.Stings can be extremely painful, which is why you should leave it up to a professional wasp control company to control paper wasp infestations in or near your home.