Understanding Wasps in San Jose, California: A Guide for Homeowners

Posted by Matthew Rathbone on January 10, 2023 · 3 mins read

If you’re a homeowner in San Jose, California, you’ve probably seen your fair share of wasps buzzing around your backyard. While these insects can be intimidating, it’s important to remember that they play an important role in our ecosystem. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about wasps in San Jose, including how to identify different species and what to do if you come across a nest.

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 in San Jose

There are several types of wasps commonly found in San Jose, including:


Yellowjackets are social wasps that live in large colonies. They are typically black and yellow in color and can be aggressive if they feel threatened. Yellowjacket nests are often found underground or in trees, shrubs, or other vegetation.

Paper Wasps

Paper wasps are known for their distinctive nests, which are made out of paper-like material. They are usually brown or reddish-brown in color and have long, slender bodies. Paper wasps are not as aggressive as yellowjackets but can still sting if provoked.

Mud Daubers

Mud daubers are solitary wasps that build nests out of mud. They are typically black or metallic blue in color and have long, thin bodies. Unlike yellowjackets and paper wasps, mud daubers are not aggressive and rarely sting.

Identifying a Wasp Nest

If you see wasps flying around your yard, there’s a good chance there’s a nest nearby. Here are some tips for identifying a wasp nest:

  • Look for nests in sheltered areas such as under eaves, in trees or bushes, or inside sheds or garages.
  • Pay attention to wasp activity. If you see multiple wasps coming and going from a certain area, there’s likely a nest there.
  • Be cautious when approaching a suspected nest. Wasps can become aggressive if they feel threatened.

Dealing with a Wasp Nest

If you come across a wasp nest on your property, it’s important to take precautions to stay safe. Here are some tips for dealing with a wasp nest:

  • Stay calm and avoid making sudden movements. This can agitate the wasps and make them more likely to sting.
  • Keep children and pets away from the nest.
  • If the nest is in a high traffic area, consider calling a professional exterminator to remove it safely.


Now that you know more about the types of wasps in San Jose, how to identify their nests, and what to do if you encounter a nest, you can enjoy your backyard with confidence. Remember to always respect these important pollinators and take steps to stay safe when dealing with nests.