Different Kinds of Wasps

Updated February 21, 2017

Wasps are insects that have slender bodies, narrow waists, thin legs and a shiny appearance. While there are hundreds of species of wasps, the most familiar types are paper wasps, yellow jackets and baldfaced hornets.


The paper wasp is dark brown colour, the yellow jacket has alternating black and yellow stripes and the baldfaced hornet is black with white markings on its face.


The paper wasp builds its small, inverted nest of various chambers under eaves, in attics, garages and sheds. The yellow jacket's large nest is normally underground, while the baldfaced hornet constructs a large, pear-shaped nest in trees or attaches it to buildings.


Paper wasps and baldfaced hornets are about 1 inch in length. The yellow jacket is half that size. There are usually only a few wasps in a paper wasp nest, but baldfaced hornets may number in the hundreds and yellow jackets in the thousands.


The paper wasp is normally not aggressive, but the other two types will vigorously defend their nest. Wasps can sting repeatedly because they do not lose their stinger during an attack.


Wasps of all types prey on pests such as beetle larvae, crickets, caterpillars and flies.

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About the Author

John Lindell has written articles for "The Greyhound Review" and various other online publications. A Connecticut native, his work specializes in sports, fishing and nature. Lindell worked in greyhound racing for 25 years.