Virginia Wasps And Hornets: 4 Most Common Species

Although there are various Virginia wasps and hornets, 4 on the list have stood out to be either more widely spread or more aggressive.

The common types of hornets and wasps in Virginia are popular for their sizes, with one species being named after a state. Do you know what this species is?

Well, let us now find out below!


What are the 4 Types of Wasps And Hornets in Virginia?

1. Paper Wasp:

Virginia Wasps And Hornets
Paper Wasp Picture

The paper wasp tops the list of the 4 most common Virginia wasps and hornets. Below are easy ways to identify this insect:

  • Their bodies are usually dark brown with yellow markings.
  • They have narrow bodies.
  • They have black wings.
  • They reach lengths of 1.8 cm to 3.1 cm.

Paper wasps probably get their names from the type of nest they construct. They bring plant materials together, which they then chew to become flexible for construction. The nest looks paper-like.

The colony consists of various compartments where you’ll find fertile queens rearing their young and laying eggs for the colony.

Paper wasps often build their nests in human shelters, where they will be easily protected from heavy downpours. You will often find their nests in the following areas of the home:

  • Garage
  • Roof
  • Door frame
  • Windowsill, etc.

Even though they primarily feed on nectar and pollen, they will also prey on insects.


Read also: Removing Wasp Nest In Winter: Safe Or Unsafe With 1 Lone Survivor?


2. Yellow Jacket:

Virginia Wasps And Hornets
Yellow Jacket Picture

The yellow jacket is another species of wasp that is among the common Virginia wasps and hornets. Below are ways to identify this insect:

  • Yellow jackets are usually black and yellow in color with some having black and white colorations.
  • Comparing their waists with that of bees in Virginia, theirs is thinner.
  • They measure lengths of 10 to 16 mm.
  • They have wings that measure up to the lengths of their bodies.

Among the common Virginia wasps and hornets, the yellow jacket is commonly known to deliver more painful stings.

These wasps mostly sting to defend their nests from attack or when they feel threatened. They will usually build these nests in sheltered areas above ground or underground.

One thing that makes them the most common stingers among the list of Virginia wasps and hornets is that they are widely distributed across the state.

Because they consume sugar and protein foods, you will often see them in picnics, and parties where food and drinks are excessively available.

Just like the paper wasps previously described, yellow jackets establish their colonies in the following places:

  • Sidewalk cracks
  • Under steps
  • Bushes
  • Base of trees
  • Underground (this is where they mostly nest)

3. European Hornets:

Virginia Wasps And Hornets
European Hornet Picture

Among the types of wasps and hornets in Virginia is the European hornet. This hornet can be identified by the following features:

  • They have pale faces.
  • Their bodies are brown.
  • They have yellow-striped abdomens.
  • They measure lengths of 2 cm to 3.5 cm.

This insect that has made it to the list of common Virginia wasps and hornets entered the United States from Europe, hence its name, European hornet. In the United States, they are the only species of true hornets.

They are sometimes referred to as giant hornets due to their large size, but they are not really aggressive unless threatened or disturbed.

European hornets usually nest in the following areas aboveground:

  • Attics
  • Wall voids
  • Hollow trees
  • Porches

The European hornet is considered a beneficial insect due to its feeding habit, as it helps to get rid of certain pesty insects, including the following:

  • Yellow jackets
  • Bees
  • Grasshoppers, etc.

4. Bald-faced Hornet:

Virginia Wasps And Hornets
Bald-Faced Hornet Picture

The bald-faced hornet is the most aggressive hornet species among the list of common Virginia wasps and hornets and can be identified by the following features:

  • They have white-marked faces.
  • Their bodies are black.
  • They are large and reach lengths of 15 to 23 mm.

Just like the yellow jackets, the bald-faced hornet is known to be widely distributed throughout Virginia and is very aggressive.

Their nests are usually constructed above ground and look paper-like with a grey coloration. The nest usually has one opening, with guard hornets mounting this opening.

You will mostly find these nests in the following places:

  • Large shrubs
  • Trees

During winter, every member of the colony dies off, leaving just the fertilized queen, who abandons the nest to look for shelter where she can wait till spring to begin a new colony.

The larvae usually feed on the following:

  • Insects
  • Carrion, etc.

The adults, on the other hand, will consume sugary liquids, including:

  • Nectar
  • Juices, etc


Read also: Bald Faced Hornet Nest Removal


How To Prevent Virginia Wasps And Hornets

  • Ensure to seal cracks and crevices.

  • Repair damaged window sills or screens.

  • Displaying a fake wasp nest can prevent new invaders from moving into your house.

  • Compost bins or garbage cans should be covered at all times.

  • Wasps do not build nests in places that are sky blue, so do well to paint your walls or any suitable nesting spot sky blue.



Although there are numerous types of wasps and hornets in Virginia, we have been able to describe the 4 most common species in the state.

With some species being less hazardous and some species being more aggressive, preventing them seems inevitable, and with the above prevention tips, you can put a stop to these pests in your surrounding environment.

How do you prevent Virginia wasps and hornets? Let us know your tips via the comments section below!

About The Author

Discover more from Pestclue

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

Leave a feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.