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 are more brown in color

Paper Wasps in El Paso TX and Anthony NM

With over 22 paper wasp species in the United States, they are one of the most commonly seen wasps in the El Paso area. They are often confused for yellowjackets, but paper wasps are more brown/copper in color with yellow markings. They are often referred to as “umbrella wasps” due to the unique shape of their nests. These nests look like upside-down cones that are a papery material and can be found hanging from a horizontal surface in shaded and sheltered locations. Paper wasps are known to be slightly aggressive and feed on insects and spiders.

Paper Wasp Nests

Paper wasp nests are very unique. They can 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

Similar to other types of wasps, 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. Stings can be extremely painful, which is why you should leave it up to a professional to control paper wasp infestations in or near your home.

If you notice paper wasp nests on or near your home, stay away and contact your professional wasp removal company.