Types of Wasps in Tennessee

Whether you’re hosting a barbecue or taking a dip in the pool, there’s nothing better than being outside after being cooped up all winter. Unfortunately, warmer weather encourages wasps to build their summer homes around your deck, under your roof, or even in your backyard.

Tennessee is home to a wide variety of wasps that could quickly ruin your family barbecue with their stings. Some wasp species are more dangerous than others, so it’s important to educate yourself to keep your summer sting-free.

Aggressive Wasp Types in Tennessee

While all wasps have stingers, some species are more likely to use them than others. All wasp species are divided between two categories: social and solitary. While solitary wasps can sting people, they typically use their stingers to hunt other insects.

Social wasps, however, use their stingers as weapons to defend their nests. Even if you don’t mean to walk too closely to a social wasp’s nest, you could likely still be stung. The three main types of aggressive social wasps you’ll find in Tennessee include:

  • Paper wasps
  • Yellow jackets
  • Bald faced hornets
  • Red wasps

Paper Wasps

Paper wasps are “vespid” wasps, meaning they chew on dead wood and plant fibers. After chewing the material, they then mix in their saliva to create a pulp for building their nests. Paper wasps get their name from the paper-like texture the pulp develops after it dries.

Due to their social nature, they’re especially aggressive toward people who wander too closely to their nests. They vary in color, from red and yellow markings to black and yellow. There are three paper wasp species found in Tennessee, including:

● Red paper wasps
● European paper wasps
● Northern paper wasps

Bald Faced Hornets

Despite their unusual name, bald faced hornets are actually considered wasps. Similarly to paper wasps, they use a pulp made of saliva and wood fibers to create their football-shaped nests. You can identify them by their ivory markings on their heads, abdomen, thorax, and legs.

Bald faced hornets are extremely aggressive and, like other social wasps, will sting you repeatedly if you disturb them or their nests. If you find a bald faced hornet nest on your property, contact the professionals at U.S. Pest to remove it, as their nests can grow three times larger than a football.

Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are some of the most recognizable species of wasps, with their thick black and yellow striped abdomens. They build their nests in the ground and occasionally in rotten logs. Yellow jackets are considered by many pest professionals to be the most aggressive wasp species.

Unfortunately, it’s easy to disturb yellow jackets, as they don’t have a visible exterior nest like paper wasps. Mowing your lawn can turn into an extremely painful experience if you accidentally mow over a yellow jacket nest.

Red Wasps

Red wasps are a particularly aggressive paper wasp subspecies that deserves special attention and caution. As their name suggests, these wasps are red in color and grow as large as one inch. Like other social wasps, they live in large groups and build their upside-down-umbrella shaped nests near areas that provide protection.

Prime nesting areas for red wasps, unfortunately, often include backyards, roofs, and decks throughout Tennessee. They’re also attracted to the loud noises, bright colors, and smells caused by humans. Additionally, leftover food from barbecues and backyard picnics will draw red wasps.

While you may be tempted to remove a red wasp nest on your own to reclaim your backyard, it’s best to contact U.S. Pest. Red wasps build the largest nests in the wasp family, which means you have an even higher chance of being stung by this aggressive species.

Call U.S. Pest Protection for Wasp Nest Identification

If you find a wasp nest in your yard or near your house, don’t attempt to identify it on your own, as you could be stung. Call in professionals from U.S. Pest Protection for a free inspection and estimate to give yourself peace of mind and keep your family safe.

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