ID That Wasp: 

Common Wasps to Look Out For This Summer

Wasps get a bad rap as unwanted picnic guests and unrelenting stingers, but did you know the majority of them aren't aggressive at all?

And many wasps don't even sport black- and yellow-striped bodies?

Here's everything you need to know about this vast group of insects (which actually includes several scientific families and tens of thousands of species) and how to identify the 19 most common types of wasps you may encounter.

Yellowjacket (Vespula, Dolichovespula)


They grow to a maximum size of around 0.5 inch and sport yellow and black or white and black patterns.


These guys are bigger than most other wasp species in the US, with a maximum size of around an inch. Despite their size, European hornets are not as worrisome as you may think.

European hornet (Vespa crabro)


This skinny red, black, and yellow species sports dark wings and can reach a size of just under an inch. Like other paper wasps, it has long legs.

Northern paper wasp (Polistes fuscatus)


One invasive paper wasp species in the US is the European paper wasp. This one looks a lot like a yellowjacket, but although it can occasionally be cranky, it will usually not seek out humans.

European paper wasp (Polistes dominula)

Although it has swapped the yellow markings for white with plenty of black, the yellowjacket temperament is absolutely still there with bald-faced hornets.


Bald-faced hornet (Dolichovespula maculata)

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