Understanding Illinois Wasps: What Homeowners Need to Know

Posted by Matthew Rathbone on April 29, 2023 · 3 mins read

As a homeowner in Illinois, the sight of wasps buzzing around your backyard can be intimidating. But don’t panic - with a little knowledge, you can learn to coexist with these important pollinators. In this article, we’ll go over the basics of Illinois wasps, including how to identify them, how to prevent infestations, and what to do if you find a nest on your property.

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.

Types of Wasps Found in Illinois

There are several species of wasps that call Illinois home. Here are some of the most common:


Yellowjackets are perhaps the most well-known type of wasp in Illinois. These black and yellow insects are often seen buzzing around trash cans and picnic tables, as they are attracted to sugary foods. Yellowjackets are social insects that live in large colonies and can become aggressive if their nest is disturbed.

Paper Wasps

Paper wasps are another common type of wasp in Illinois. These insects are named for the paper-like material they use to build their characteristic umbrella-shaped nests. Unlike yellowjackets, paper wasps are not particularly aggressive and will only sting if they feel threatened.

Mud Daubers

Mud daubers are solitary wasps that build nests out of mud. These insects are not aggressive and rarely sting humans. They are beneficial because they prey on spiders, which can be a nuisance in homes and gardens.

Identifying Illinois Wasps

If you want to learn more about the types of wasps you’re seeing in your backyard, it’s important to know how to identify them. Here are some key characteristics to look for:

  • Yellowjackets: Black and yellow stripes; small waist; aggressive behavior.
  • Paper Wasps: Brown or black with yellow markings; narrow waist; long legs.
  • Mud Daubers: Black or metallic blue with elongated bodies; build nests out of mud.

Preventing Wasp Infestations

The best way to deal with wasps is to prevent them from building nests on your property in the first place. Here are some tips:

  • Keep garbage cans tightly sealed.
  • Cover sugary drinks and food when eating outside.
  • Fill in any holes or crevices in your home’s exterior where wasps could build nests.
  • Trim back trees and bushes to prevent wasps from nesting in them.

Dealing with Wasp Nests

If you do find a wasp nest on your property, it’s important to handle it carefully to avoid getting stung. Here’s what to do:

  • Stay calm and keep your distance from the nest.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as long sleeves and pants, gloves, and a hat.
  • Wait until after dark, when the wasps are less active, to attempt to remove the nest.
  • If you’re unsure how to proceed, contact a pest control professional.

By following these tips, you can learn to peacefully coexist with Illinois wasps. Remember, these insects play an important role in our ecosystem by pollinating plants and preying on other pests. So next time you see a wasp in your backyard, take a deep breath and appreciate the vital work it’s doing.