Paper Wasps in the Winter Months

It’s winter! Then, why in the world do you see a wasp flying around your house? One particular type of wasp that is common to our area is the paper wasp (Polisties sp.). They are called paper wasps because they build papery, water-resistant nests from fibers from dead wood and plant stems mixed with saliva. The nest has open combs allowing for rearing broods when the time is right. The constricted stalk anchors the nest in a protected place like the eave of a house or underside of a deck. After the nest is constructed, the wasps secrete a chemical that is spread around the base of the anchor to repel ants and prevent the loss of eggs or brood.


Paper wasps have a rust-red thorax with black markings and a red face. They also have long legs, are reddish-brown to black and have differing degrees of yellowish or brown striping. They are often confused with mud dauber wasps.


Mud daubers are dark blue/black metallic colored and do not sting. However, paper wasps will readily sting, although they are not as aggressive as hornets or yellowjackets. If a paper wasp nest is found near an area of your home that you and your family typically frequent, the nest should be eliminated, as there is a chance you will be stung and paper wasps have the ability to sting several times.


During the winter, the wasp queens seek shelter in hollow trees, under bark, woodpiles, attics, chimneys, barns, under siding, anywhere that will protect them from the elements. Although the calendar may say it is winter, any warm days can cause the wasps to become active and fly about which is why you may see them during the winter months. If you see a wasp flying near your home in the winter, there is a good chance they are hibernating near or in your home. That is why now is the time to control paper wasps around your home. During the winter months, the nests are still small and have fewer wasps than in the later months. Call Terminator Termite and Pest Control today to rid your home of paper wasps this winter to avoid a bigger problem this summer.