Meet the Brown Wasps of Florida: What You Need to Know as a Homeowner

Posted by Matthew Rathbone on April 08, 2023 · 4 mins read

As a homeowner in Florida, you may have noticed a few brown wasps buzzing around your backyard. These creatures can be intimidating, but they’re an important part of the ecosystem. In this article, we’ll introduce you to the brown wasps of Florida, help you identify them, and provide some tips on what to do if you encounter 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.

What are Brown Wasps?

Brown wasps belong to the Vespidae family, which also includes yellow jackets and hornets. They’re typically smaller than other members of this family, measuring between 1/2 and 3/4 inch long. Most brown wasps have dark brown or black bodies with yellow markings, although some species have red or white markings as well.

Identifying Brown Wasps

One of the most common brown wasps in Florida is the paper wasp. These wasps build nests out of a papery material that looks like cardboard. Their nests can be found attached to tree branches, eaves, or other structures around your home. Paper wasps have slender bodies with long legs and wings that fold lengthwise when at rest.

Another type of brown wasp found in Florida is the potter wasp. These wasps have a distinctive shape, with a narrow waist and a bulbous abdomen. They’re usually black with yellow or white markings, and they build nests out of mud. Potter wasps can often be seen flying low to the ground, searching for prey to bring back to their nests.


Brown wasps are generally considered to be beneficial insects because they prey on other insects that can damage plants and crops. However, they can also sting humans if they feel threatened. Unlike yellow jackets, which can sting multiple times, brown wasps can only sting once before they die. So, if you encounter a brown wasp, it’s best to give it plenty of space and avoid swatting at it.

Nest-Building Habits

Paper wasps build their nests by chewing up wood fibers and mixing them with saliva to create a papery material. They then mold the material into hexagonal cells, which they use to rear their young. Potter wasps, on the other hand, build their nests out of mud. They start by creating a small chamber, then add more mud to the outside until the nest is the size they want.

Dealing with Brown Wasps

If you find a brown wasp nest on your property, it’s best to leave it alone if possible. As we mentioned earlier, brown wasps are beneficial insects that can help control other pests in your yard. However, if the nest is in a high-traffic area or poses a threat to your family, it may need to be removed.

To remove a brown wasp nest, it’s best to call in a professional pest control company. They will have the equipment and expertise needed to safely remove the nest and relocate any live wasps. Trying to remove the nest yourself is not recommended, as it can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.


Brown wasps may seem intimidating, but they play an important role in the ecosystem of your backyard. By learning to identify them and understanding their behavior, you can coexist with these creatures in harmony. If you do encounter a brown wasp nest that needs to be removed, always call in a professional to handle the job safely.