All About Wasps in Washington, D.C.: What Homeowners Need to Know

Posted by Matthew Rathbone on January 20, 2023 · 3 mins read

If you’re a homeowner in Washington, D.C., chances are you’ve seen your fair share of wasps buzzing around your backyard. While these insects can be beneficial for pollination and pest control, they can also pose a threat to you and your family if they feel threatened. In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about wasps in Washington, D.C.

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.

Common Types of Wasps in Washington, D.C.

There are three types of wasps that are commonly found in Washington, D.C.: paper wasps, yellowjackets, and bald-faced hornets.

Paper Wasps

Paper wasps are long and thin, with narrow waists and black or brown bodies. They are named for their papery nests, which they construct from wood fibers mixed with saliva. These nests can often be found hanging from eaves, tree branches, or other outdoor structures. Paper wasps are generally not aggressive, but will defend their nests if they feel threatened.


Yellowjackets are smaller than paper wasps, with bright yellow and black striped bodies. They build their nests underground, in hollow trees, or in other enclosed spaces. Yellowjackets are known for their aggressive behavior, especially when their nest is disturbed. Their stings can be painful and dangerous for those who are allergic.

Bald-Faced Hornets

Bald-faced hornets are the largest and most aggressive of the three wasp species. They have black bodies with white markings, and build large, spherical nests out of a paper-like material. These nests can be found in trees, shrubs, and on buildings. Bald-faced hornets will fiercely defend their nests if they feel threatened, and their stings can be particularly painful.

How to Deal with Wasps in Your Backyard

If you have a wasp problem in your backyard, there are several steps you can take to deal with it safely and effectively.

  1. Identify the type of wasp: Different types of wasps require different treatment methods, so it’s important to know which species you’re dealing with.

  2. Avoid provoking the wasps: Don’t try to swat at or disturb a wasp nest, as this will only agitate the insects and make them more likely to sting.

  3. Use traps: Commercially available wasp traps can be an effective way to reduce the population of wasps in your yard.

  4. Call in a professional: If you have a large nest or are unsure about how to deal with the wasps in your yard, it’s best to call in a professional pest control service.


Wasps can be a nuisance and even a danger in your backyard, but with the right knowledge and precautions, you can keep yourself and your family safe. By identifying the types of wasps you’re dealing with and taking appropriate action, you can enjoy your outdoor space without the fear of being stung.