A Homeowner's Guide to Identifying Wasps in Fresno, California

Posted by Matthew Rathbone on February 03, 2023 · 3 mins read

As a homeowner in Fresno, California, it’s not uncommon to encounter wasps buzzing around your backyard during the warmer months. But not all wasps are created equal, and it’s important to know which species you’re dealing with in order to manage their presence effectively. Here’s a guide to identifying the most common wasps you’ll find in Fresno:

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.

Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are perhaps the most infamous of all wasps, known for their aggressive behavior and painful stings. These wasps have black and yellow stripes on their bodies and are about half an inch long. They build gray paper nests that can be found in trees, bushes, or even underground.

If you notice yellow jackets flying in and out of a hole in the ground, you may have a nest in your yard. It’s best to call a professional exterminator to remove the nest, as attempting to do so yourself can be dangerous.

Paper Wasps

Paper wasps are similar in appearance to yellow jackets, but are slightly larger and have longer bodies. They build open, umbrella-shaped nests that are often found hanging from eaves or branches. Paper wasps can be territorial and may sting if they feel threatened, but are generally less aggressive than yellow jackets.

If you notice a paper wasp nest in your yard, it’s best to leave it alone if possible. These wasps are beneficial because they prey on other insects, so they can actually help control pest populations in your garden.

Mud Daubers

Mud daubers are a type of wasp that builds nests out of mud. These nests are often small and cylindrical, and can be found attached to walls or under eaves. Unlike yellow jackets and paper wasps, mud daubers are solitary wasps and do not live in colonies.

Mud daubers are generally not aggressive and rarely sting humans. They are also beneficial because they prey on spiders, including black widows.


Hornets are a large, aggressive species of wasp that are less common in Fresno than other types of wasps. They have black and white stripes on their bodies and build large, football-shaped nests that can be found in trees, bushes, or on the sides of buildings.

If you notice a hornet nest in your yard, it’s best to call a professional exterminator to remove it. Hornets can be very aggressive and their stings can be particularly painful.

Managing Wasp Presence in Your Yard

If you’ve identified a wasp nest in your yard, it’s important to take steps to manage their presence in a way that is safe for both you and the wasps. Here are a few tips:

  • Keep garbage cans tightly sealed to avoid attracting yellow jackets.
  • Seal any cracks or holes in your home’s exterior to prevent paper wasps and mud daubers from building nests.
  • If you need to remove a wasp nest, do so at night when the wasps are less active and wear protective clothing to avoid getting stung.

By understanding the different types of wasps in Fresno and how to manage their presence, you can enjoy your backyard without worrying about unwanted visitors.