Tennessee Wasps: Types, Behaviors, and Protection Tips

Posted by Matthew Rathbone on May 28, 2023 · 3 mins read

If you’re a homeowner in Tennessee, chances are you’ve encountered wasps buzzing around your backyard at some point. While wasps can be beneficial to have around due to their pest control abilities, they can also pose a danger if disturbed or provoked. In this article, we’ll introduce you to the most common types of wasps found in Tennessee, their behaviors, and offer tips on how to protect yourself and your family from their stings.

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 Tennessee Wasps

Paper Wasps

Paper wasps are slender with yellow and black stripes and are commonly found building their nests under eaves, porches, and other sheltered areas. They are not typically aggressive unless provoked and will only sting if they feel threatened. Their sting is painful but usually not dangerous unless you’re allergic.

Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are often confused with bees due to their similar appearance. They have black and yellow stripes and are more aggressive than paper wasps. They build their nests in the ground and will defend them fiercely if threatened. Yellow jacket stings are painful and can cause an allergic reaction in some people.

Cicada Killers

Cicada killers are large wasps that hunt cicadas and use them as food for their larvae. They have a brownish-orange color and a wingspan of up to 2 inches. While they may look intimidating, cicada killers are generally not aggressive towards humans unless provoked. Their stings are painful but not dangerous unless you’re allergic.

Wasp Behaviors

Understanding wasp behavior can help you avoid getting stung. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Wasps are most active during the day.
  • Avoid wearing brightly colored clothing or floral patterns, which can attract wasps.
  • Don’t swat at wasps or disturb their nests.
  • Be careful when eating outdoors, as sweet foods and drinks can attract wasps.

Protecting Yourself from Wasp Stings

While it’s impossible to completely eliminate the risk of getting stung by a wasp, there are steps you can take to minimize your chances:

  • If you see a wasp flying near you, remain calm and still.
  • Avoid wearing perfume or scented lotions, which can attract wasps.
  • Keep garbage cans tightly sealed to prevent wasps from being attracted to rotting food.
  • Seal any cracks or holes in walls or foundations to prevent wasps from entering your home.
  • If you find a wasp nest on your property, contact a professional exterminator to remove it safely.

By being aware of the types of wasps found in Tennessee, their behaviors, and taking appropriate precautions, you can enjoy your backyard without the fear of getting stung.