How Do Paper Wasps Get in Homes?

Paper wasps are rarely found in homes. Only inseminated queens needing a warm place to spend the winter seek the indoors. Wasps will find a way in through crevices and skylights, or exposed flashing. These paper wasps are not defending a nest, so if you come upon one, stinging usually will not occur.

Wasps rebuild their nests each year. A queen that has spent the winter in hibernation creates a new nest each spring, These over-wintering queens, called foundresses, emerge from hibernation and begin to forage for nest building sites. The sites are usually exposed wood surfaces, such as dead limbs or untreated wood.

The queen begins to chew the wood fibers, mixing them with her saliva to form the carton to create cells for their eggs. The wasp eggs hatch and become larvae that the queen takes care of as she continues to add on to the nest. Unlike other stinging insects, wasps have no worker class, so queens that have joined the semi-social colonies help with the nest building and larvae care.

Wasps eat a number of pests, which make them beneficial to us. They feed on caterpillars and other insects, along with nectar and honeydew. This high-protein diet is fed to the larvae as they grow.

Paper wasps do like to build their nests in protected places, such as eaves, under windowsills, or in attic rafters. Usually, paper wasps only spend one season in a nest. If one is built in an area with a lot of human activity, you may need to have it removed. Be sure to seek help from a pest control expert before attempting to remove a paper wasp nest. Although they are not aggressive, they will sting if disturbed.