Identifying Yellow and Black Wasps in Florida: A Homeowner's Guide

Posted by Matthew Rathbone on April 11, 2023 · 2 mins read

If you’re a homeowner in Florida, you’ve probably seen your fair share of wasps buzzing around your backyard. While these insects can be intimidating, it’s important to know which ones are harmless and which ones to avoid. In this guide, we’ll focus on the yellow and black wasps commonly found in Florida.

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.

What are Yellow and Black Wasps?

Yellow and black wasps are part of the Vespidae family, which includes paper wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets. They are social insects that live in colonies of up to several thousand individuals. These wasps are known for their distinctive coloration, which often includes bright yellow or orange markings on a black background.

Identifying Yellow and Black Wasps

There are many species of yellow and black wasps in Florida, but the two most common are the paper wasp and the yellow jacket.

Paper Wasp

Paper wasps are slender, 1-2 inch wasps with long legs that hang down when flying. They have a narrow waist and a distinctively shaped body that is mostly brown with yellow or orange markings. You may see them building small, open nests made of paper in protected areas like under eaves or roof overhangs.

Yellow Jacket

Yellow jackets are stouter, more aggressive wasps that are about ½ inch to ⅝ inch in length. They have alternating black and yellow stripes, with a solid black head and yellow face. Unlike paper wasps, yellow jackets build their nests underground or in wall voids, and they can become very territorial if disturbed.

Dealing with Yellow and Black Wasps

While yellow and black wasps can be intimidating, they generally won’t bother you if you leave them alone. If you do need to get rid of a nest, it’s best to call a professional pest control service. Attempting to remove a nest yourself can be dangerous and may lead to serious injury or an allergic reaction.


By familiarizing yourself with the common yellow and black wasps in Florida, you can better understand these fascinating insects and appreciate their role in the ecosystem. Remember, if you encounter a nest or swarm of wasps, it’s best to stay calm and call in the experts. Stay safe and enjoy your Florida backyard!