Paper Wasp

Actual Size: 0.75 to 1.25”

Characteristics: Black abdomen and wings with a reddish-brown body and distinctive yellow rings.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Habitat: Typically builds papery, umbrella-shaped nests in tree branches, attics, and eaves.


  • Moderately aggressive and capable of stinging multiple times at once.
  • Primarily consumes nectar and other insects, including flies and caterpillars.
  • Though female wasps will help each other build nests, only one queen will lay eggs.

Paper Wasps in North Jersey

With over 22 species of paper wasps in the United States, these insects are a common problem in North Jersey. Though they look similar to yellowjackets thanks to their brownish color and yellow markings, paper wasps are known for building unique umbrella-shaped nests. These nests look like an upside-down papier-mache cone hanging in a covered area, such as a tree branch or attic space. It’s generally easier to identify paper wasps through their nests than their bodies.

Paper Wasp Habitat

As their name suggests, paper wasps are known for building papery nests under eaves, attic rafters, and porch ceilings. Unlike yellowjackets, paper wasps leave their nests somewhat open. These wasps primarily feed on nectar, spiders, and other insects. They also help pollinate local plants, making them beneficial to the environment. That said, paper wasps are aggressive and capable of stinging repeatedly without dying. While paper wasps can have a positive impact on our ecosystem, they’re the last thing we want to find in our attics.

Paper Wasp Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Paper wasps are an aggressive species that will sting humans repeatedly if they feel threatened. Stings can be extremely painful and may even cause a severe reaction in individuals with an allergy. For that reason, it’s best to steer clear of a nest should you discover one near your property. If you are accidentally stung and notice concerning symptoms such as intense swelling, difficulty breathing, or a rash, then you should contact a medical professional right away.

Have paper wasps on your property? Call the experts at Eastern Pest Services today! Our team has years of experience serving the North Jersey area, and we know how to quickly and safely remove wasps from any space. We also implement long-term exclusion efforts to prevent the infestation from returning later on down the road. For lasting protection against paper wasps, get in touch today!