Paper Wasp

Actual Size: 0.75 to 1.25”

Characteristics: Black abdomen, mahogany body with distinct yellow ring, black wings

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Habitat: Build umbrella-shaped, paper-like nests in residential yards. Nests often hang from twigs and branches, porch ceilings, and more.


  • Female wasps will help each other build nests but only one queen will lay eggs
  • Known as semi-social wasps that live in small colonies without a worker caste
  • Often confused for yellowjackets but have a thinner waist

Paper Wasps in SE Louisiana and Mississippi

There are over 22 species of paper wasps in the U.S., and most of them are a brownish color with yellow markings. Unlike bees, they do not have hair on their bodies. True to their name, they create their nests out of a papery substance they make from chewing up wood and vegetation. Often confused with yellowjackets, paper wasps are sometimes referred to as umbrella wasps because of the shape of their unique nest. Paper wasp nests often look like an upside-down paper cone and typically hang from a horizontal surface in a shaded, protected location. Like other types of wasps, paper wasps feed on insects, spiders, etc.

Paper Wasp Nests

Paper wasp nests are one of the most unique nests from a stinging insect. They look like upside-down umbrellas and have a papier mȃché feel to them. Unlike yellow jackets, paper wasp nests are somewhat open and not completely covered. Nests can most often be found either on tree branches or under eaves, attic rafters, and porch ceilings. Because nests can be built directly on a home, these wasps have been known to make their way indoors through holes in attic vent screens or underneath shingles.

Paper Wasp Habits & Dangers

Similarly to mud daubers, paper wasps are considered to be beneficial to the environment for keeping the insect population under control. They also assist in pollination by feeding on nectar. Paper wasps are considered aggressive and have been known to sting repeatedly when threatened. For this reason, it’s important to never disturb their nest.

If you are stung, always seek help from a medical professional. In addition, always contact a wasp control expert for help with any type of stinging insect in or near your Louisiana property.