Wasps (general)

Beneficial Insect: Wasps (general) (Vespidae et Polistes spp.)

Insect Type: Beneficial insects

Major Identifying Features: Yellowjackets and paper wasps are the most common social wasps in the Western states

Yellowjackets: are medium sized and black with jagged bands of bright yellow on the abdomen and have a very short and narrow waist, sting humans and show defensive behaviour

Paper wasps: are slender wasps with long legs and distinct slender waists, colors vary, but most Western species tend to be golden brown or darker with large patches of yellow and red, they are mostly unaggressive

Life Cycle: Overwintering yellowjacket and paper wasp queens begin their nests in spring when the weather becomes warm, the queen emerges in late winter to early spring to feed and start a new nest, from spring to summer nests are in the growth phase, and larvae require protein, workers forage for protein and some sugar to maintain the population, normally they live one season unless they live in areas with mild winters (south of San Francisco)

Pest Rating: Beneficial, can become a pest

Management Rating: Beneficial

Host/Season/Outbreak Information: Yellowjackets build nests in rodent burrows, walls, and ceilings, outbreak is in spring

Paper wasps prefer to live in or near orchards or vineyards, they hang their paper nests in protected areas, such as under eaves, attics, or tree branches

Support Information/Common Prey: Most wasps are predators for most or a all the year and provide great benefit by killing large numbers of plant-feeding insects and nuisance  flies

Management/Attraction Options: Wasps should be protected and encouraged to nest in areas of little human or animal activity





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