Discovering the Different Kinds of Wasps in South Carolina

Posted by Matthew Rathbone on May 26, 2023 · 3 mins read

As a homeowner, spotting wasps in your backyard can be concerning. However, not all wasps are created equal. In fact, many species are quite harmless and even beneficial to your garden’s ecosystem. In this article, we’ll go over some of the most common wasps you might encounter in South Carolina 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 wasps found in South Carolina. They are named for the paper-like nests they construct from wood fibers and saliva. These nests can often be found hanging from trees, eaves, or other structures around your home. While paper wasps do have stingers, they are generally not aggressive unless their nest is disturbed.

Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are another common type of wasp found in South Carolina. They are known for their bright yellow and black stripes and are often mistaken for bees. Unlike bees, however, yellow jackets can sting multiple times and are more likely to be aggressive if they feel threatened. Their nests can be found underground or in other protected areas.

Bald-faced Hornets

Bald-faced hornets are a large species of wasp that are often mistaken for bees due to their coloring. They have black bodies with white markings on their faces and at the tips of their abdomens. Their nests are typically located in trees or shrubs and can be identified by their football-like shape. Bald-faced hornets can be aggressive if their nest is disturbed and their stings can be painful.

Mud Daubers

Mud daubers are a type of wasp that construct their nests out of mud. They are often found in sheltered areas such as under eaves, bridges, or rocks. Unlike other wasps, mud daubers are not social and do not form colonies. Instead, each female builds her own nest and cares for her own young.

Cicada Killers

Cicada killers are a large species of wasp that feed on cicadas. They are not aggressive towards humans and rarely sting unless provoked. Their nests can be identified by the small mounds of dirt they create in lawns or gardens.


While it’s natural to feel uneasy when you spot a wasp in your backyard, not all of these insects are dangerous. By learning more about the different types of wasps in South Carolina and how to identify them, you can better understand which ones pose a threat and which ones are simply part of your local ecosystem. Remember to always exercise caution around any type of wasp nest and seek professional help if you’re unsure whether or not it’s safe to remove.