Most Common Wasps In Tennessee – What wasps are worrisome? If you have ever been stung by a wasp then you know it is not pleasant. Some people even have an allergic reaction to the powerful sting. Male wasps are unable to sting due to the lack of egg-laying, which turns into a stinger. So, if you have been stung, it was likely from a female wasp.

3 Most Common Wasps In Tennessee

There are over 30,000 species of wasps in the world, with only three that are commonly found in Tennessee. These include paper wasps, dirt daubers, and yellow jackets. Do you know how to distinguish one from another?

Paper Wasps – Most Common Wasps In TN

Paper wasps are identified this way because of the way they create their nests. They use items such as dead wood and plant stems to make their nest, and have nests that resemble an umbrella shape. While not naturally aggressive, if bothered they will sting.

These wasps are social, and arguably the most commonly seen wasp in Tennessee. With their brown bodies they do not usually stand out. Paper wasps rely on their stinger as defense from threats, versus solitary wasps rely on venom. Solitary wasps do not look to sting or pester like social wasps.


Dirt Dauber – Second Most Common

Dirt daubers, or mud daubers, make nests that consist of mud. The female that constructs the nest aims for seclusion when choosing the perfect spot for her nest. This wasp is solitary, and prey on spiders which can be very beneficial. They specifically consume the liquid nutrients in a spider, leaving the body to remain in its nest. Although their nest is not visually appealing, they will not typically bother you unless disturbed. They usually appear slender, with a black body.


Yellow Jackets – Third Most Common In Tennessee

Yellowjackets are the typical aggressive wasp, and most common in the United States. There are about 325 species of yellow jackets in North America, varying in color. This wasp does not have a barbed stinger like a honey bee, so it can sting multiple times. Yellowjackets are sensitive to any form of disturbance, so they will fight to protect their nest at any sign of a threat. As the name refers, they have yellow markings on their body.


Wasps are not to get confused with bees, however. This is a common mistake made by those who fear stinging insects. Contact a pest professional before facing a hive or nest!

See below, a chart to help you identify these three particular wasps discussed:

Type of wasp Physical Appearance Social or Solitary Average Size
Paper wasp Black or brown with yellow bands Social Average .63 inches
Dirt Dauber Usually black, may have markings of blue Solitary Average .5 -1.0 inches
Yellow jacket Yellow and black stripes Social Average 3/8th – 5/8th of an inch


Another very common wasp found in Tennessee often is the Red Wasp. These stinging insects are commonly found building nests in corners of the exterior of your home, under gutters, and sometimes even in garages or carports. They don’t commonly bother humans unless provoked to defend theirselves.


Do you have wasps or stinging insects around your home? Do you have wasp nest activity on the exterior of your home’s structure? Call a U.S. Pest professional to perform a complimentary inspection at your home at no cost. Schedule today! Visit: uspest.com/free-inspection OR contact us!