Getting to Know the Wasps in Virginia: A Guide for Homeowners

Posted by Matthew Rathbone on March 08, 2023 · 2 mins read

As a homeowner, it’s important to know the different types of wasps that can be found in your backyard. Not only can these insects be a nuisance, but some species can also pose a danger to you and your family. In this guide, we’ll introduce you to the most common types of wasps in Virginia and provide tips on how to identify 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

Paper wasps are one of the most recognizable types of wasps in Virginia. They are slender and have long legs that dangle beneath their bodies as they fly. These wasps are typically brown with yellow or red markings. You might find paper wasp nests attached to eaves, beams, or ledges around your home. If you see one of these nests, avoid disturbing it as paper wasps can be aggressive when protecting their young.

Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are another type of wasp commonly found in Virginia. They are black with yellow stripes and are often confused with bees due to their similar appearance. Yellow jackets build their nests in cavities like tree hollows or holes in the ground. They can become aggressive if their nest is disturbed, so it’s best to avoid getting too close if you come across one.

Bald-Faced Hornets

Bald-faced hornets are easily recognized by their white and black coloring. They are larger than paper wasps or yellow jackets and build their nests above ground. Bald-faced hornets are generally not aggressive unless their nest is threatened, so it’s best to leave them alone if you find one in your backyard.

Cicada Killer Wasps

Cicada killer wasps are a large species of wasp that can grow up to two inches long. Despite their intimidating size, cicada killer wasps are not aggressive towards humans. They prey on cicadas and can be found digging burrows in the ground where they lay their eggs. If you see a cicada killer wasp in your backyard, it’s best to leave it alone as these wasps play an important role in controlling cicada populations.


By knowing the different types of wasps in Virginia, you can better understand which species you might encounter in your backyard. Remember to always approach wasps with caution and avoid disturbing their nests. If you need help removing a wasp nest from your property, consider contacting a professional pest control service.