Guide to Identifying Wasps and Bees in Madison, Wisconsin

Posted by Matthew Rathbone on March 19, 2023 · 3 mins read

Are you curious about the buzzing insects in your backyard? Do you want to know more about these fascinating creatures that seem to be everywhere during the warmer months? Look no further – our guide to identifying wasps and bees in Madison, Wisconsin is here to help!

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 Wasps and Bees in Madison

There are many different species of wasps and bees in Wisconsin, but some are more common in Madison than others. Here are a few species you might encounter:

Paper Wasps

Paper wasps are one of the most common types of wasps found in Madison. They are often mistaken for yellow jackets because of their similar coloring, but paper wasps tend to have longer bodies with more distinct markings. They build gray, papery nests under eaves, on branches, and in other protected areas.

Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are another type of wasp that is prevalent in Madison. They are often identified by their bright yellow and black stripes and the distinctive way they fly. Unlike paper wasps, yellow jackets build their nests underground or in other hidden locations.


Bumblebees are large, fuzzy bees that are often seen buzzing around flowers in backyards. They have a distinctive black and yellow striped pattern and tend to move more slowly than wasps. Bumblebees are important pollinators and play a crucial role in maintaining healthy ecosystems.

Honey Bees

Honey bees are another type of bee commonly found in Madison. They are smaller and less fluffy than bumblebees, with a more uniform yellow and black striped pattern. Honey bees are also important pollinators and are responsible for producing delicious honey!

Behavior of Wasps and Bees

Wasps and bees can be intimidating because of their ability to sting, but they are generally not aggressive unless provoked. Most wasps and bees will only sting if they feel threatened or if their nest is disturbed. If you encounter a wasp or bee, it’s best to stay calm and avoid making sudden movements.

If you do get stung, there are a few things you can do to alleviate the pain and swelling. Applying a cold compress and taking an over-the-counter pain reliever can help. If you experience an allergic reaction, seek medical attention immediately.


We hope this guide has helped you learn more about the wasps and bees in your backyard. Remember, these insects play an important role in our ecosystem, so it’s important to treat them with respect. If you have any concerns about a wasp or bee nest on your property, consider contacting a professional pest control company for assistance. Happy backyard exploring!