European Paper Wasp
The Invasive European Paper Wasp is often mistaken for a Yellow Jacket. A closer look reveals it is larger than an average Yellow Jacket and has a much slimmer waist.
The nest of the European Paper Wasp may be built out in the open, however, this insect prefers to put its nest in cavities, such as rain gutters, downspouts, plumbing vents, birdhouses, pipes, hollow logs or trees, and the like. Nests are commonly found in mailboxes and car mirrors.
Because of its propensity to nest in enclosed areas, the European wasp has become a threat to cavity-nesting birds in North America and a danger to humans who might come upon a hidden nest or reach into something with one in it.
The European Paper Wasp is more aggressive than our native species of wasps. The older species are being displaced and replaced by this new non-native species. They get an earlier start in Spring and have been known to overtake newly built nests and kill the native Queens.
Every attempt should be made to limit suitable nest sites. Repair holes in walls, caulk cracks in soffits and eaves, and screen vents and louvers. Nests made early in the season by founding queens are easier to eliminate before workers are produced.
Prevention of new nests is the key.
The colonies are annual.