Identifying Black and Yellow Wasps in Florida - A Guide for Homeowners

Posted by Matthew Rathbone on April 05, 2023 · 3 mins read

If you live in Florida, chances are you’ve seen a black and yellow wasp buzzing around your backyard. While these insects can be intimidating, not all of them are aggressive or harmful to humans. In this guide, we’ll go over some common black and yellow wasp species found in Florida and how to identify them.

DIY Wasp removal recommendations

For non aggressive wasps I've had great luck spraying the nests with this Spectracide wasp remover in the evening. For more aggressive wasps I also use this rediculous looking upper torso Beekeeping suit. It seems silly, but trust me, it's amazing.

Paper Wasps

Paper wasps are one of the most common types of wasps found in Florida. They have long, slender bodies, and their wings fold longitudinally when at rest. Their coloration varies from reddish-brown to black with yellow markings.

Paper wasps build nests that look like upside-down umbrellas, usually under eaves, porch ceilings, or tree branches. They are generally non-aggressive and will only sting if they feel threatened.

Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are another common type of wasp found in Florida. They are more robust than paper wasps and have distinctive black and yellow stripes on their bodies. Unlike paper wasps, they do not have the slender waist and their wings fold transversely when at rest.

Yellow jackets build their nests underground, in trees, or in structures such as attics or wall voids. They are more aggressive than paper wasps and will sting multiple times if provoked.

Mud Daubers

Mud daubers are solitary wasps that are generally harmless to humans. They have long, thin bodies and are usually black with yellow markings. However, some species have metallic blue or green colors.

Mud daubers construct nests out of mud, which can be found on walls, rocks, or other surfaces. These nests are often mistaken for mud dauber nests, but they are actually the nests of spider wasps, which are harmless to humans.


Hornets are less common in Florida than other wasp species, but they can still be found in some areas. They have large, stout bodies and are usually black with white or yellow markings. They have a more aggressive temperament than other wasps and will defend their nests vigorously if provoked.

Hornets build large, spherical nests that can be found in trees, shrubs, or on buildings. If you encounter a hornet nest, it’s important to stay away and call a professional exterminator to remove it.

Dealing With Wasp Nests

If you find a wasp nest on your property, it’s important to take precautions when dealing with it. Never attempt to remove a nest on your own, especially if it belongs to a more aggressive species like yellow jackets or hornets.

Instead, contact a licensed pest control professional who has experience dealing with wasp nests. They will have the necessary equipment and expertise to remove the nest safely.

In conclusion, black and yellow wasps are a common sight in Florida backyards, but not all of them are dangerous. By learning how to identify different species and their behavior, homeowners can safely coexist with these beneficial insects. And if you do encounter a wasp nest, always seek professional help to remove it safely.