Yellow Jackets and Paper Wasps Look Similar but are Very Different
In the Sacramento area, there are two main types of wasps that we see: Yellow Jackets and Paper Wasps. At a quick glance, you may not be able to tell the difference since they are both yellow and black. However, if you got a good look at them, you would be able to see several differences. In fact, they are very different in a lot of ways. One major difference is that Yellow Jackets are very aggressive and will repeatedly sting, while a Paper Wasp will sting when provoked or threatened.
When it comes to looks, Yellow Jackets tend to be fatter and can be shorter in length. They tend to be anywhere from a half-inch to an inch long. Paper Wasps are narrower and generally a little longer starting at about three-quarters of an inch to about an inch in length.
Both Paper Wasps and Yellow Jackets will hunt and feed on other garden pests, but after that and a generally similar look, there are some major differences.
Yellow Jacket Nests are Usually Underground. Paper Wasps Build Their Nest Above Ground in a Protected Area.
Yellow Jacket nests are usually built underground or in hollow areas. Paper Wasp nests are usually out in the open in a protected area such as under the canopy of a tree or under the eave on a house.
Paper Wasps are Actually Good for the Environment.
We mentioned that both types of wasp eat other garden pests. Yellow Jackets are also scavengers that will eat any human food they can find. When you see wasps flying around garbage cans or dumpsters, or start to attack when you are having a picnic in the park, they are usually Yellow Jackets. Paper Wasps stick to a more natural diet of garden pests, pollen, and nectar. Since they do pollinate, like bees, Paper Wasps are helpful to the environment.
Are Yellow Jackets helpful to the environment? Yellow Jackets do not eat pollen or nectar. There is very little to redeem these vicious little buggers.
So, if Paper Wasps can be helpful, should we just leave them alone? We have the same discussion with people when it comes to spiders. Spiders are not the evil creatures made out in myths and legends. Spiders do not act like Shelob in Lord of the Rings. Since they mostly eat other pests, we are fond of saying that spiders are usually not the problem, they are a symptom of the problem. But that does not mean you have to live with spiders in your basement or garage. Spiders can bite, and in some cases, the bile can be venomous and very painful.
Paper Wasps might not be as aggressive as Yellow Jackets, but if you have a Paper Wasp nest in your backyard or on your house, then any movement close by the nest can be interpreted by the wasps as a threat. If you are in the yard playing ball or the dog is running around and the Paper Wasp nest is accidentally hit or jostled, the wasps are going to think they are being threatened and they will attack.
Despite their Differences, the Presence of a Wasp Nest can be Dangerous to Your Family
The presence of a wasp nest regardless of the type can be a risk if you have kids or pets. Even as an adult, you don’t want to be on the receiving end of a swarm of wasps because they thought you were threatening their nest. Overall, Paper Wasps might be better for the environment than Yellow Jackets, but you still need to be concerned about the safety of your family.
If you see a wasp nest on your house or in your yard, or you see more wasps than usual flying around, don’t waste time or take your chances. Call Pinnacle Pest Control and let us take care of your problem.