Getting to Know the Wasps in San Francisco, California

Posted by Matthew Rathbone on January 15, 2023 · 3 mins read

If you’re a homeowner in San Francisco, chances are you’ve seen your fair share of wasps buzzing around your yard. While these stinging insects can be intimidating, it’s important to remember that they play an important role in our ecosystem. In this article, we’ll introduce you to some of the most common wasp species found in San Francisco and provide tips on how to coexist peacefully 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.

Paper Wasps

One of the most common types of wasps you’ll encounter in San Francisco is the paper wasp. These wasps are named for the papery nests they construct out of plant fibers and saliva. The nests can often be found hanging from eaves, door frames, or under decks.

Paper wasps are generally not aggressive unless their nest is disturbed, so it’s best to leave their nests alone if they are not causing any problems. If you do need to remove a nest, wait until after dark when the wasps are less active and wear protective clothing.

Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are another type of wasp that you might see in your San Francisco backyard. Unlike paper wasps, yellow jackets build their nests underground, which can make them harder to spot. These wasps are more aggressive than paper wasps and will sting repeatedly if they feel threatened.

To avoid attracting yellow jackets, keep your garbage cans tightly sealed and clean up spills promptly. If you do encounter a nest, it’s best to call a professional exterminator to remove it safely.

Mud Daubers

Mud daubers are a type of solitary wasp that constructs their nests out of mud. You might see these small, slender wasps flying around your San Francisco yard, hunting for spiders to paralyze and store in their nests as food for their young.

While mud daubers may look intimidating, they are not aggressive and rarely sting humans. In fact, having mud daubers in your yard can be beneficial, as they help control the spider population.

Honey Bees

While honey bees are not technically considered wasps, we thought we’d include them in this guide because they are such an important part of our ecosystem. Honey bees are responsible for pollinating many of the plants we rely on for food, and their delicious honey is a favorite treat for many of us.

If you see a swarm of bees in your San Francisco yard, don’t panic! Swarming bees are usually not aggressive, as they are focused on finding a new home. Instead of calling an exterminator, consider contacting a local beekeeper who can safely relocate the bees to a new hive.


We hope this guide has helped you get to know the wasps (and bees!) in your San Francisco backyard a little better. Remember, while these insects can be intimidating, they are an important part of our ecosystem and should be treated with respect. By taking simple steps to coexist peacefully with them, you can enjoy your outdoor space without fear of getting stung.