Paper wasps are one of the most well-known wasps in North Carolina. Contrary to popular belief, paper wasps are harmless in most circumstances and could be a benefit to your home. They feed on other pests and are generally not aggressive. The problem is that paper wasps are intensely territorial and defensive, and have a tendency to build their nests right around the home putting you and your family at risk for stings.
Paper wasps have a queen which lays eggs inside of a small nest made out of fibers, plants, and saliva. The final result is a very “paper-like” substance that is also water resistant. Eggs are placed in hexagonal cells, and stay in the nest through all stages, feeding on caterpillars and soft bodied insects until they become adults. Afterward they will also go find more food for the young as the queen continues to lay eggs.
Paper wasps are only aggressive when their nests are threatened. Unfortunately, manmade structures tend to represent the perfect location for their homes, with the right amount of shade and moisture for protection. These wasps will create nests that are near entrances and play areas, and will become aggressive if they are worried you might damage their home. Wasps can sting multiple times and call their workers to help them, so a paper wasp nest could mean a great deal of danger to someone nearby.
It can be difficult to prevent paper wasps. Light blue paint has been known to deter paper wasps because it resembles the sky. Otherwise, you may have to contact a pest control company with experience controlling paper wasps.