Los Angeles County West Vector & Vector-Borne Disease Control District

Paper Wasp

    The term "paper wasp" is used to describe a number of wasp species in the family Vespidae and usually of the genus Polistes.  There are 21 Polistes spp. found in North America.  Although they are sometimes confused with yellow jackets, paper wasps are easily identified by the nests they make and their long, narrow bodies.

    Paper wasp nests resemble an upside down umbrella of cells and are often found hanging under the eaves of buildings, in attics, trees, as well as other structures (see photo right).  Although they are capable of stinging, paper wasps are usually not aggressive unless disturbed.  The sting of a paper wasp is similar to that of any other wasp.  
    Paper wasps are generally considered a beneficial species.  They will feed on agricultural pests such as caterpillars that can destroy crops.

Nest Control -If you do have a problem with paper wasps, the District can remove any nest that is not in a structure. Our trained staff will come out and remove the nest free of charge.  If we cannot remove the nest, you may have to consult your local yellow pages for a licensed pest control operator.

(photo: H. Teodoro 2001)

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