European Paper Wasps: Everything You Need to Know

When people hear the word “wasp,” their skin may crawl. Plus, European paper wasps look pretty scary. These black and bright yellow, slender-bodied insects resemble yellow jackets, and most people would assume that they need to be afraid of potential stings.
But European paper wasps are actually yellow jacket imposters. While they look like their much-feared counterparts, they are actually pretty different. Here’s what you need to know about the European paper wasp.
Understanding the European Paper Wasp
As the name may suggest, the European paper wasp is native to Europe. They are actually an invasive species in North America, being introduced to the continent in the 1970s. However, they have since managed to make much of it home, including the west coast, upper Midwest, Northeast, and even Hawaii and Florida.
These black and yellow flyers survive on insects, hunting live ones for food. They travel through shrubs, trees, and gardens during the day looking for other bugs that would make a great meal. If they come across sugary treats or a picnic, they really don’t care. That’s not what they eat so, unless other insects that tend to make a meal of are nearby, they’ll keep on going. Then, they head to the nest at night to rest.
When they’re looking for a place to nest, they usually settle on a structure. Under the eaves of houses and buildings are common favorites. However, they will also seek out hollow areas in manmade structures, including voids in playground equipment, walls, roofs, and vent systems. You might even see them nesting on items left outside, like the edges of a trashcan, under a patio chair, or in a crack of a picnic table.
With a European paper wasp nest, the comb of cells is usually visible. This is different from yellow jackets, which typically enclose the cells in a paper covering. As a result, you can generally tell by looking at the nest whether you are dealing with paper wasps or yellow jackets, even if you can’t get a good look at the insect itself.
When European Paper Wasps Are Dangerous (or Possibly Deadly)
By and large, European paper wasps are more of a nuisance than a threat. In most cases, they are pretty docile. When they are foraging, they usually aren’t aggressive. Even at the nest, they are only mildly aggressive and don’t tend to swarm. On most days, they’ll just go about their business.
However, there is an exception. If a European paper wasp is thirsty, you are dealing with a grumpy critter. There’s an increased likelihood that you’ll get stung. It’s as if they aren’t in the mood to deal with your presence, so they’d rather sting you so you’ll buzz off.
But, it’s also important to note that people can be allergic to paper wasp stings. In those cases, a single sting could be deadly.
Getting Rid of European Paper Wasps
Since European paper wasps are pretty mellow, you can sometimes just knock the nest down with a broom. Just make sure you wear a heavy jacket and eye protection, protecting yourself from possible stings and shielding your eyes from spraying venom. But, if you’re allergic, then hiring a professional is the best way to go.
As far as keeping European paper wasps away, there isn’t a lot you can do. There isn’t anything on the market that will prevent them from nesting. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have options.
At Ed’s Dead Bug, we will handle European paper wasp nests. Plus, we guarantee our results and offer wasp treatment under our warranty. We’ll do what it takes to ensure paper wasps aren’t a problem for you and that the situation is addressed to your satisfaction.