Contrary to popular belief the Yellow Jacket is actually a wasp, not a bee. Yellow Jackets have smooth outer bodies approximately ½” long, are black and yellow in color and lack the amount of consistent hair normally found on Honey Bees or Bumble Bees. Yellow Jackets enter your LifeSpace by smelling food or other plant and flower lures. Grilled food and caramelized sugars often attract these pests to your backyard cook out. Trash barrels and other containers collecting decomposing matter or syrup like substances will also attract Yellow Jackets. Yellow Jackets typically do not cause damage to homes and will nest underground, in trees or on the underside of eaves or building structures. Yellow Jackets are typically not aggressive unless disturbed when foraging, while protecting their nest or colony or in fall when brood sizes reach their peak. Yellow Jackets have small barbed stingers allowing them to sting multiple times, stings can be painful and may induce severe allergic reactions.
Paper Wasps closely resemble Yellow Jackets and get their name from the paper-like substance used to build their nests. Nests are attached to the underside of undisturbed horizontal surfaces in and around your home and resemble upside-down honey comb like structures. Queens begin constructing nests starting in early spring; most nests are not enclosed with visible cells. Paper Wasps are typically black and yellow in color, averaging 3/4” in length. Unlike bees, Paper Wasps have smooth, slender bodies with legs that typically dangle beneath the body when flying. Paper Wasps are typically not aggressive unless disturbed of when their colony is threatened. Stings can be painful and may induce severe allergic reactions.
Bald Faced Hornets are black and white in color and approximately 5/8” long. Bald Faced Hornets build paper nests at least 3-4’ off the ground, colonies can grow to hundreds of workers. Nests can reach the size of a basketball, often seen in trees or structural overhangs. Bald Faced Hornets are aggressive and will attack and sting when disturbed or threatened. Bald Faced Hornets have small stingers capable of stinging quickly and repeatedly. Stings can be painful and may induce severe allergic reactions.