September 30, 2022

Wasps in Washington State: A Complete Guide

What’s that buzzing around?

Wasps in Washington state are typical backyard sights for residents across the Greater Puget Sound, especially in the summertime when the temperature warms up and flowers, plants, and fruits bloom. 

Keep reading to learn more about our state’s prominent wasp species and how to keep yourself protected from these painful pests!

Wasps in Washington State: Yellowjackets

Yellowjackets are one of the most aggressive wasp species and the bane of many Washington state homeowners. Because these pests prefer to burrow underground and out of sight, you may not notice a nest until it’s too late!

While some species may occasionally build within trees or roof eaves, yellowjackets hunt for an abandoned mole, vole, and groundhog hole to make a home. Female yellowjackets hide away in brush piles during the winter, emerging in the springtime to begin work on their hives. 

Yellowjackets are notorious for their hostile relationships with insects and humans. These pests are feared predators for active bee hives, gutting nearby nests to feed their young. 

As the temperature grows cold in the fall and plants cease to bloom, yellowjackets turn toward other sources to gain their nutritional fix. While we still enjoy the pleasant weather of September and October, yellowjackets slowly run out of food. 

As we head outdoors for backyard parties, yellowjackets will steal a seat at our tables too! Because yellowjacket adults covet sweet substances and pollen, you may catch a glimpse of a yellowjacket stealing a bite at the fruit table. 

Never approach an active yellowjacket nest if you find one on your property. These pests will stop at nothing to drive away an attacker and repeatedly sting anything they see as a threat. Their stingers won’t fall off after one sting like honey bees, and they can sting more than once. 

To learn more about yellowjacket infestations, check out our ultimate guide to yellowjackets

Washington Paper Wasps

Paper wasps are other common wasps in Washington state. Unlike their aggressive kin, paper wasps are less likely to cause a stir whenever you see them nearby. But don’t get too close!

As their name suggests, paper wasps craft their hives out of wood pulp and fibers, creating a paper-like material on the hive’s interior. Some species’ nests resemble traditional wasp and hornet hives, while others mimic umbrella-shaped nests. 

Because these umbrella-shaped hives have cells open to the elements, many paper wasp homes resemble a honeycomb. Just don’t mistake these angry pests for honey bees! 

Unlike yellowjackets, paper wasps prefer to build their homes out in the open, so you won’t have to worry about accidentally stepping on an unseen insect assailant. If you spot paper wasps flitting around, look around the following areas for an established hive:

  • Decks
  • Porch roofs
  • Roof eaves
  • Under porches
  • Trees and bushes
  • Wall voids and cavities 

Give us a call if you spot paper wasps anywhere on your property! Our trained technicians can swiftly remove pesky pests that build around your home. 

Hornets in Washington State

What about hornet species? Are they located in Washington, too?

The European hornet immigrated from European countries in the nineteenth century, following European settlers in the early 1800s. 

While these pests are common throughout the world, European hornets are only primarily found in eastern regions of the United States. These pests may migrate to new areas but aren’t common wasps in Washington state.

One hornet species that has made quite the splash in American news is also not native to the United States. The northern giant hornet (also called the Asian giant hornet or murder hornet) is native to many Asian countries and has slowly migrated east to the pacific coastline. 

Because of their highly destructive nature, the northern giant hornet is a threat to many of Washington’s native bee species. While most wasps predate bee hives, the northern giant hornet could have a devastating impact on our local ecosystems.

Bees have vital roles as pollinators and pollinate many crops we consume daily. Without bees, we would not have coffee, melons, berries, or almond, according to the United States Food and Drug Administration

Watch this video to understand the northern giant hornet's impact on bees!

The northern giant hornet hasn’t established a foothold in North America, despite the many sightings of these pests since early 2020. If you spot these insects, report them to the Washington State Department of Agriculture

What about Bald-Faced Hornets?

So, hornets aren’t typical pests in the upper Pacific region, but bald-faced hornets are common sights for many Washington residents. What separates these insects from other hornets across the U.S.?

Surprisingly, bald-faced hornets aren’t hornets at all! Despite lacking the traditional yellow and black coloration, bald-faced hornets are technically yellowjackets. 

While their unique pattern and larger size set them apart from the average yellowjacket, these pests are run-of-the-mill wasps in Washington state. Don’t let their unusual appearance fool you! These pests can deliver a painful sting when provoked! 

Like other hornet and wasp species, bald-faced hornets prefer to build their abodes aboveground. Homeowners typically notice these pests constructing hives in foliage, porches, decks, or along the side of buildings. 

Eliminating Wasps in Washington State

Because of their aggressive nature, wasps aren’t welcome guests to backyard barbecues. Plus, their presence outdoors can make enjoying your yard difficult. Who wants to share the shade with a stinging bug?

Because of their less than cherry disposition, handling an active wasp nest may cause more harm than good. 

If you make the wrong move and irritate the insects within, you could anger hundreds of stinging insects. While a few wasps stings won’t cause much harm, multiple painful wounds could make you ill, especially if you’re allergic. 

Using sprays or powders to battle unsightly nests may sound easy, but we recommend against attempting at-home pest control. Instead, contact Zunex Pest Control for all of your pest control needs! 

From angry yellowjackets to the unique bald-faced hornets, we have you covered when it comes to wasps. Our general pest control service can eliminate many common Washington state pests. Contact us today

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