Getting to Know the Kansas Wasps and Bees in Your Backyard

Posted by Matthew Rathbone on May 02, 2023 · 3 mins read

Are you curious about the buzzing insects in your Kansas backyard? Don’t be afraid! Many of them are beneficial wasps and bees that help pollinate plants and control pests. Here’s a guide to some of the most common ones you might see.

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.


Yellowjackets are social wasps that build papery nests in hidden locations like underground burrows or hollow trees. They are easily recognizable by their black and yellow striped bodies and aggressive behavior when their nest is disturbed. While yellowjackets can sting multiple times, they also prey on other insects that can damage crops and gardens.

If you find a yellowjacket nest on your property, it’s best to call a professional pest control service to remove it safely.

Paper Wasps

Paper wasps are another type of social wasp that build umbrella-shaped nests under eaves, branches, or other protected areas. They have narrow waists and longer legs than yellowjackets, and they are typically less aggressive. Some paper wasp species even feed on nectar and pollen, making them important pollinators.

If you come across a paper wasp nest, keep your distance and avoid swatting at the insects. As long as the nest is not near a high-traffic area, it can be left alone.


Bumblebees are large, fuzzy bees that are important pollinators for many crops and flowers. They have black and yellow or black and orange striped bodies and a distinctive buzzing sound. Unlike honeybees, bumblebees can sting multiple times without dying.

If you see a bumblebee in your backyard, observe it from a distance and enjoy its important work as a pollinator.

Carpenter Bees

Carpenter bees are large, shiny bees that resemble bumblebees but have a smooth, hairless abdomen. They typically build their nests by drilling into wood structures like decks, fences, or eaves. While they can cause cosmetic damage to wooden structures, they are not usually a serious threat to the integrity of the wood.

If you have carpenter bees nesting on your property, consider filling the holes with steel wool or caulk to prevent further damage.

Sweat Bees

Sweat bees are small, metallic-colored bees that are attracted to human sweat. They are generally solitary and non-aggressive, and they play an important role in pollinating wildflowers. Despite their name, sweat bees don’t actually drink sweat; they are more interested in the salt and nutrients found in it.

If you encounter a sweat bee, don’t swat at it; simply move away slowly to avoid disturbing it.

By learning to identify the wasps and bees in your backyard, you can appreciate their important role in the ecosystem and take steps to safely coexist with them. Remember, these insects are often more afraid of you than you are of them!