From a young age, we are taught about the insects to stay away from to avoid getting stung. If you have ever gotten stung by any of these it is surely something you don’t want to have happen again. When you own a home, you don’t want these pesky insects around, creating problems for everyday life and entertainment. Many of these creatures are in the same family as wasps, but have different qualities and should be handled in different ways. Overall, bringing in a pest control professional will prevent any injuries that could happen when attempting to deal with these venomous creatures. It is a good idea to know the differences in the stinging insects and how to avoid them. Whether it is mud daubers, yellow jackets, hornets, or paper wasps, this short guide should give you the basics on what they do.

Mud Daubers

Also known as dirt daubers, mud daubers are normally solitary wasps and won’t sting unless extremely provoked. Their nests are normally about the size of a lemon with the look of dried mud on the outside and made up of cylindrical cells. The nests can be found attached to a variety of surfaces from garages to porches and under different structures. These structures can last for years and even house other wasps once mud daubers leave. If you find an old nest, removing it from your home is a good idea to keep other wasps away and prevent them from coming any closer. Though they look dangerous, mud daubers are beneficial household predators and play a role in keeping spiders and other insects at bay. Keeping mud daubers around can be helpful to keep you safe from other insects, so think twice before you kill this type of wasp.

Paper Wasps

When you think of a wasp, you probably picture this type of wasp. Paper wasps get their name from their paper thin nests that can hang from any horizontal surface, making where they can go versatile. These open comb nests only last about a year because they are made with different wood, plant, and paper fibers, making it deteriorate in the winter. Therefore, if you see an empty nest like this around your yard, then you may want to start looking for the active nest. Paper wasps are known for being territorial and will attack if they feel their nest is being attacked. They won’t stop stinging until they believe the threat is gone. Paper wasps are predators like mud daubers and will eat other insects, but will also crash any party with human food present, so watch for them there and protect yourself accordingly. Messing with a paper wasp is no joke, so it is best to go ahead and call a professional with all the correct gear to prevent bringing any harm to you and your family.


There is confusion many times in the difference between a paper wasp and a hornet. They can be distinguished if you look closely at them or at their nests. Hornets have fatter heads and rounder abdomens than paper wasps. Hornets also have little black on their bodies and are primarily yellow, red, or brown. Hornet nests also hang from a thin stalk and are made from a similar substance as paper wasps. A hornet’s nest is covered on the outside and have hexagonal cells on the inside with only one entrance. A hornet isn’t quite as bold as paper wasps, so they aren’t as likely to show up to any backyard barbecues. Nevertheless, if provoked, hornets can give a painful sting. If you are stung multiple times, it is a good idea to seek medical attention because you can develop an anaphylactic reaction over time the more you are stung. This is the case for all these stinging insects, so be vigilant if you are stung. Go see a doctor, don’t just wait it out.

Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are probably the most elusive creatures on this list because their nests are hard to see. The nests can be found in crawl spaces and wall voids, but also in the ground. These nests can grow to large sizes as the yellow jackets continue to use them year after year. The nests create natural depressions because the yellow jackets are breaking down the soil, so if you see a yellow jacket going underground somewhere, stay away from that area. The ground above their hive is thin and can cause a sinkhole if stood on resulting in a swarm of yellow jackets. You can fill in a yellow jacket nest in the winter, so they can’t come back, but be sure they have all left before you do. Bringing in a professional is the best option since you cannot see the majority of the nest. Yellow jackets are highly aggressive and territorial, so if you see one there are probably many close by. Keep an eye out for children and pets until you can locate the nest. They like to attack in numbers, so if you are stung seek medical attention for relief from the venom, but also to keep an out for any anaphylactic reaction.

Wasps can be dangerous creatures to handle. If you are brave enough to try to get rid of them yourself, be sure to wear adequate gear and have a plan. Having a professional come in truly is the best option in keeping yourself safe and being sure the nest is dealt with properly. Summer can cause wasps to come out, so keep your eyes out and take care of them before they become too big.

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