Getting to Know the Wasps in Atlanta, Georgia

Posted by Matthew Rathbone on February 06, 2023 · 2 mins read

If you’re a homeowner in Atlanta, Georgia, chances are you’ve encountered a few wasps buzzing around your backyard. While they may be a nuisance, it’s important to understand the different types of wasps and how to identify them to avoid getting stung.

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 probably the most common type of wasp you’ll see in your backyard. They are slender with long legs and a narrow waist, and can range in color from brown to reddish-brown. These wasps build paper-like nests that can usually be found hanging from tree branches or under eaves.

Identification: Look for their signature long legs and slim waist. Their nests are open comb-like structures with hexagonal cells.

Tips: If you find a paper wasp nest in your backyard, keep your distance and avoid disturbing it. Paper wasps are not typically aggressive unless provoked, but they will defend their nests if they feel threatened.

Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are another common type of wasp in Atlanta. They are black and yellow and have a more robust body than paper wasps. Yellow jackets are known for their aggressive behavior and are often found near human food sources such as garbage cans and outdoor dining areas.

Identification: Look for their bold black and yellow stripes and their stocky, almost round body shape.

Tips: Avoid leaving food out and clean up spills immediately. If you encounter a yellow jacket, move away slowly and avoid swatting at it. Swatting can provoke an attack.


Hornets are less common in Atlanta but are still worth mentioning. They are larger than other types of wasps and can be identified by their black and white striped pattern. Hornets are social insects and live in large colonies, often building their nests in trees or on buildings.

Identification: Look for their stout, almost oval-shaped body and their distinct black and white striped pattern.

Tips: Like paper wasps, hornets are not typically aggressive unless provoked. If you find a hornet nest on your property, it’s best to call a professional pest control service to remove it safely.

In Conclusion

Understanding the different types of wasps in Atlanta is the first step towards staying safe in your own backyard. Keep an eye out for paper wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets, and learn to identify their nests. With a little knowledge and caution, you can coexist with these important pollinators without the fear of getting stung.