The term wasp is used to refer to several bee/wasp-like insects that can be a problem in the Pacific Northwest. These are usually “mud daubers and paper wasps”. Both are solitary wasps deriving their names from the types of nests they build. Mud daubers build small mud nests in protected areas such as eaves or attics etc. Nests usually only have a few members and are not aggressive. Mud daubers will sting out of defense when threatened.
Paper wasp nests typically contain up to 200 cells. Paper wasps build their nests in protected areas. They are frequently found under eaves of garages or homes. They are semi-social, docile wasps but will sting when threatened. Paper wasps are black and yellow but sometimes will be reddish brown. They are sometimes confused with yellow jackets, but can be easily distinguished from yellow jackets by the “pinched waist”.
Neither mud daubers nor paper wasps survive the winter. Impregnated queens will overwinter, beginning the nest new each spring.
The other wasp encountered in our area is the paper wasp. It is named because of the paper-like nest it builds. Nests are shaped like upside down umbrellas and recognized by the open cells.