Pest Guide: What are European Paper Wasps?

What You Need to Know About European Paper Wasps in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C.

European paper wasps (Polistes dominula) are a species of wasp that is native to Europe but has now spread to many parts of North America. They are a type of social wasp, which means that they live in colonies with a hierarchical social structure.

Schedule A Treatment Service

How to Identify a European Paper WaspsInfestation

European Paper Wasp stings can be quite painful!

Paper wasp nest

European Paper Wasps are about 1 inch (2.5 cm) long and have a narrow, slender waist with a distinct separation between their thorax and abdomen. They have black and yellow stripes on their bodies and long, slender legs. Their wings are also long and slender, with a smoky brown coloration. The queen of the colony is usually slightly larger than the workers and has a more robust body shape. The distinctive feature of these wasps are their elongated, cylindrical-shaped nests, which are made of grayish-brown paper-like material.

Their nests are typically made of paper-like material, which is made by the wasps chewing up wood fibers and mixing them with saliva. The nests are usually small, grayish-brown in color, and shaped like an upside-down umbrella.


Common Questions About European Paper Wasps

European paper wasps are attracted to areas with easy access to food sources, such as gardens, fruit trees, and outdoor dining areas. They may also be attracted to areas with easy access to water, such as swimming pools or bird baths.

Yes, these wasps can be dangerous if they feel threatened, as they have the ability to sting multiple times.

The stings of a European paper wasp can be painful, and the severity of the pain can vary depending on the individual's sensitivity to the venom. The venom contains a mix of chemicals that can cause pain, swelling, and redness around the sting site. In some cases, the venom can also cause an allergic reaction, which can result in more severe symptoms such as hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the face and throat. It is important to seek medical attention if you experience any severe symptoms after being stung by a wasp.


The best way to get rid of wasps is to hire a professional pest control service, such as My Pest Pros. Exterminators will use specialized tools and techniques to safely and effectively remove the wasps and their nests. It is important to note that attempting to remove the nest yourself can be dangerous, as the wasps may become aggressive if they feel threatened.

Tips for Preventing European Paper Wasps

  • Keep food and garbage covered: European paper wasps are attracted to food, so it's important to keep your outdoor dining areas clean and free of crumbs and spills. Make sure your garbage cans have tight-fitting lids to prevent wasps from getting in.
  • Seal cracks and openings: Check the exterior of your home for any cracks or openings and seal them up to prevent wasps from entering.
  • Trim trees and shrubs: These wasps often build their nests in trees and shrubs, so it's a good idea to trim back any overgrown branches that are close to your home.
  • Avoid wearing bright colors and fragrances: Bright colors and fragrances can attract wasps, so it's best to avoid wearing them when you're spending time outside.
  • Professional pest control treatments usually include applying dusts and other materials to deter wasps from building nests.

How My Pest Pros Helps Eliminate European Paper Waps

European paper wasps can be painful. My Pest Pros technicians can help to treat, remove and prevent wasps and other pests. We use EPA-approved products and safety equipment to quickly eliminate the wasps so your family can feel safe again around your Northern Virginia, Washington D.C., and Maryland home.

Our trained professionals can provide an effective treatment plan to help deter European paper wasps and other pests with our preventative care programs.

For ultimate protection, our professionals will work with you to find a customized solution to get rid of the wasps and other stinging pest problems, today and tomorrow.

Contact Us Today

What Our Customers are Saying


Dedicated to our Customers

If you have a pest-control question, we are here to answer and respond around the clock. We don’t rush treatments; we get them right! We treat our customers like family; because to us, you are. So whenever you have a pest problem, you can rely on the team at My Pest Pros to take care of it.

Contact Us

For all of your pest control needs, My Pest Pros is there. Be sure to give us a call today for a free quote!


    * This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

    Our Satisfaction Guarantee

    Our promise to you is simple: You will be 100% satisfied with our pest control programs. Guaranteed.*


    *With Our Unlimited Plans.