The paper wasp is a non-aggressive stinging insect with a variety of species found throughout the United States and the world. Overall, there have been 22 species of wasps identified in North America and about 1100 identified worldwide.
Adult paper wasps are usually about five-eighths of an inch long and are recognizable by their yellow and black bodies. Some species have reddish-brown and black markings. They can be confused with yellow jackets, but paper wasps have much thinner bodies and longer legs that hang down low when they fly.
Species in the United States include the northern paper wasp, which has two forms. One is colored with brown and black markings. The other form, found in the south, has a paler body with two yellow bands. These wasps are widespread in North America.
The annularis paper wasp is found in the northeastern and southeastern US, as well as parts of Texas and South Dakota. This paper wasp is blackish-brown with a broad yellow stripe on its abdomen.
The apache paper wasp can be found in California and Texas. It has a golden brown body and yellow stripes.
Dominulus paper wasps have pale bodies banded with black and yellow. They are found throughout the northeast and mid-west and are expanding.
Dorsalis paper wasps can be found in the mid-west and parts of the southeast. They have reddish-brown bodies with some yellow markings.
Lastly, golden paper wasps are golden and yellow in color and reside mainly in the Pacific Northwest.
Species around the world include the European and Asian paper wasps, as well as the Australian paper wasps.