Understanding Wasps in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - A Guide for Homeowners

Posted by Matthew Rathbone on January 06, 2023 · 3 mins read

If you’re a homeowner in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, chances are you’ve encountered some type of wasp buzzing around your yard. While wasps can be intimidating, it’s important to understand that they play an important role in maintaining the ecosystem. In this guide, we’ll explore the different types of wasps you might encounter in Philadelphia and provide tips for safely coexisting with 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.

Types of Wasps Found in Philadelphia

Paper Wasps

Paper wasps are perhaps the most common type of wasp found in Philadelphia. They are easily recognizable by their slender bodies and long legs. Paper wasps are typically brown or black in color and have yellow markings on their bodies. These wasps build nests out of paper-like material, often under eaves or in other protected areas. While paper wasps can sting if threatened, they are generally not aggressive and will only sting when provoked.

Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are another common type of wasp found in Philadelphia. They are smaller than paper wasps and have brighter yellow markings on their black bodies. Yellow jackets are known for their aggressive behavior and will sting repeatedly if they feel threatened. They build their nests in the ground or in other protected areas such as hollow trees or wall voids.


Hornets are larger than both paper wasps and yellow jackets and are easily recognized by their large, football-shaped nests. Hornets are generally less common in Philadelphia than other types of wasps but can still be found in wooded areas. Like yellow jackets, hornets can be aggressive and will defend their nests if they feel threatened.

Coexisting with Wasps

While wasps can be intimidating, it’s important to remember that they play an important role in the ecosystem by controlling populations of other insects. If you encounter a wasp in your yard, it’s best to remain calm and avoid swatting at it. Swatting at a wasp may provoke it to sting.

If you have a wasp nest on your property, it’s best to call a professional to remove it rather than attempting to do so yourself. Attempting to remove a wasp nest can be dangerous and may result in serious injury.


By understanding the different types of wasps found in Philadelphia and learning how to coexist with them, you can enjoy your backyard without fear of being stung. Remember to always respect these buzzing insects and appreciate the important role they play in maintaining the ecosystem.