Adult wasps are regularly 1/4 inch to 1 inch long. Wasps have 2 arrangements of wings and 6 legs. They have reception apparatuses and “squeezed in” or hourglass midsections. They additionally have biting mouthparts (mandibles) to bite prey and other food sources.
Hornets are the largest social wasps pest control professionals encounter. Bald faced hornets have white markings on their head and thorax and build nests that are covered in a papery shell. European hornets are brownish with orange markings, and build their nests in natural cavities like tree stumps, or in cavities within buildings. Though not particularly aggressive while out foraging, hornet stings can be very painful.
Adult paper wasps grow to be 16-20 mm long and tend to have a brownish coloring with yellow markings (although a few paper wasp species have red markings). While their appearance can vary slightly by species, paper wasps have distinctive long legs unlike bees or yellow jackets that have shorter legs.
Yellow jackets have black antennae and shorter legs (relative to the paper wasp). Adult yellow jackets grow to be 10-16 mm in length and feature a black and yellow banded abdomen. Yellow jackets build nests that are surrounded by a papery covering, and are commonly found within wall voids or cavities in the ground.