360.859.9090 | 503.405.4300
Carpenter Ant Pest Control in Portland OR and Vancouver WA

Paper Wasps

Paper wasps are an incredibly common stinging insect in the Pacific Northwest. Known for their preference for safe, covered places, their nests can be most typically found in the eaves and overhangs of many homes in the Portland, OR; Vancouver, WA and Camas metro areas.

Paper Wasp Description

Sugar Ant Up-Close View in Portland OR and Vancouver WA


On average, paper wasps in the Pacific Northwest measure one-half to one-and-a-half inches in length.


Paper wasps are very dark brown to black in body color, with yellow markings on their heads and thorax (mid-section), and yellow rings on their abdomens. Their wings are brownish and slightly transparent in appearance.

What are paper wasps?

Paper wasps are a stinging insect that contain over 200 variations of the species, 20 of which reside in North America. They are an insect that builds nests to create, support, and grow wasp colonies containing the three distinct groups in their social order: worker wasps, queen wasps, and male wasps. 

In autumn, wasps mate. The impregnated female wasps will hibernate, while the males simply pass away. Once the spring nesting season arrives, queen wasps will select a prime location for the nest, and the workers will begin construction. The average lifespan for most paper wasps is one-year.

Why are they called “paper wasps?”

Paper wasps get their name based on the way they create the materials that are used to construct their nests. Worker wasps gather fibrous plant materials (think of things like plant stems and dried wood) and combine it with their saliva to produce an almost papier-mâché-like substance that is used to fashion the home.

How did I get paper wasps?

Paper wasps are looking for a covered place to build their nest, and they chose your home or buildings on your property for the safety and longevity of their colony. If your home has eaves, overhangs, an awning or trees nearby that offer a quiet and safe location for paper wasps to create a nest, then your home is more susceptible to a paper wasp infestation.

What do paper wasps eat?

Paper wasps feed on other insects (beetle larvae, caterpillars, flies, and more).

Where are paper wasps coming from?

There are four basic and quite common environmental factors that will encourage paper wasps to build a colony on your property:

  1. Safe space for them to build their nests
  2. Other insects (for food)
  3. Flowering plants (for nectar)
  4. Water (for nourishment and energy — and it probably doesn’t hurt that other insects are attracted to water, as well, making it a prime place to find insects to feed on)

Still not sure if you’re looking at a paper wasp?


Paper Wasp Tips

Are paper wasps Harmful?

Are Sugar Ants Harmful Icon
Paper wasps sting, but are less aggressive than other stinging insects.

When do paper wasps sting?

Paper wasps, unlike other species of stinging insects, are typically not aggressive when it comes to the presence of humans in their world. However, if paper wasps feel threatened — especially when it comes to the safety of their nest and their queen — they will act aggressively, increasing your chances of being stung.

What happens when you’re stung by a paper wasp?

But just because paper wasps aren’t typically aggressive, it doesn’t mean they won’t be. When wasp stings, it hurts. Not only that, but there can be instances of allergic reactions to paper wasp stings, which can result in swelling, dizziness, nausea, itchiness, breathing difficulties, or even anaphylactic shock. If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these or similar symptoms after having been stung, then seek medical attention immediately. 


Are Sugar Ants Seasonal Icon
Paper wasps are active from February – November.

Paper wasps in the Northwest may become active as early as February or March and can remain active all the way into November. Reproducing females will emerge in the spring from overwintering and often follow the same flight patterns re-establishing colonies in roughly the same locations as the year before. This makes the disruption of those flight patterns — namely through the treatment and removal of their nests — absolutely crucial to the successful extermination of your paper wasp infestation.


can i treat PAPER

WASPS on my own?

DIY Sugar Ant Treatment Icon
Paper wasps can killed with DIY treatments, but their nests can be difficult to eradicate.

Though there are a variety of DIY wasp treatments that can be purchased over the counter, paper wasps can be a real challenge for homeowners to treat themselves for many reasons, one being that they sometimes build nests in inaccessible areas.

Homeowners should generally not attempt to do any wasp control on their own–as reaching these hard to reach places takes skill and know-how to complete the wasp elimination safely and correctly.


Paper wasp extermination with guaranteed results


Why should I call professional pest control?

Proper wasp control requires both the treatment and the removal of the nests. Aspen Pest Control can provide these services to keep your home and family continuously safe from wasp infestations.

Aspen Pest Control has specialized equipment to treat most second stories and beyond. We provide wasp control and include wasp nest removal as part of our service. Results are 100% guaranteed! Our regular customers enjoy peace of mind knowing if the wasps come back, we do too, free of charge.

How do I prevent a future paper wasp infestation?

Once you’ve been able to eradicate a paper wasp infestation from your home, it’s important to take the necessary steps that will prevent future infestations from occurring. This means removing any standing water from your property, treating your home for other pests that the wasps perceive as food, being careful to not keep flowering plants too close to the home, and also ensuring that all nests have been removed from your home and property. 

Nest removal is crucial. Because certain insects, including the paper wasp, will build new colonies over and over again based on the same flight patterns, it is necessary to break those patterns through consistent and complete nest removal.

Early intervention is crucial for paper wasp extermination

As soon as you begin to see wasps building nests on your home or anywhere on your property, we highly encourage you to contact the professional wasp removal specialists at Aspen Pest Control. When it comes to the protection of their nests, wasps will likely be aggressive, and the location of the nest isn’t always obvious. This is why a thorough examination of your property is so important. You never really know when you’re putting yourself or your friends and family at risk. 

Beyond the fact that wasp stings are potentially dangerous, wasps swarming can also cause aesthetic damage to the wood on the home where the wasp nests are located. Although they are not wood boring creatures, the aesthetic damage caused by wasps to your home will become quite noticeable over time.

Paper Wasp Treatment



An intentional, thorough evaluation of your home’s entire exterior is what you deserve when treating for wasps. Eaves, shutters, soffits, and surrounding shrubs are just a few of the areas we examine when treating for a paper wasp infestation. Thorough nest identification and renewal are key to your home’s treatment plan.

Aspen Pest Control Technician Treating the Floorboards of a Portland OR Home


Apply products

We use commercial grade green pest control products to exterminate existing populations and effectively remove nests. 

Aspen Pest Control Technician Treating a Vancouver WA Yard with Green Pest Control Product



Rome wasn’t built in a day, and wasp removal isn’t achieved overnight. Long-term colony removal, that is. Breaking the cycle of infestation takes resilience and understanding. That’s why so many of our clients choose us for the regular evaluation and treatment of wasps and other pests. We’re knowledgeable, dedicated, and thorough — and committed to achieving your pest control goals!

Aspen Pest Control Technician Setting Pest Bait Trap While Talking to Vancouver WA Homeowner

Secure your home from paper wasps 


Aspen Pest Control Technician Giving a Free Pest Control Consultation to Vancouver WA Homeowner

Your Satisfaction — With Us, It's 100% Guaranteed!

In the instance your pests return, then so will we! We want you to be completely satisfied with your Aspen Pest Control experience. That’s why your friends and neighbors all over the greater Portland and Southwest Washington areas choose us for their pest control needs.

Dealing with wasps? Call Aspen Pest Control today and get rid of your paper wasp problem.

Talk with an expert pest control technician 


Vancouver Office:


12104 NE 95th St.

Vancouver, WA 98682


Portland Office:


8305 SE Monterey Ave

Suite 220 Q

Happy Valley, OR 97086

Mailing Address:

19215 SE 34th St

Suite #106-155

Camas, WA 98607

Get A Quote

  • Aspen will never share your personal information.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

What's Bugging You?