Wasp nest. Pioneer Pest Management, serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA explains how wasps and yellowjackets are different.

Did you know that all yellowjackets are wasps but not all wasps are yellowjackets? At a glance, all stinging insects look the same, but there are over 30,000 different wasp species in the world.

They’re a group of insects in the Hymenoptera order along with bees, ants, and sawflies.

Wasps appear in the spring and summer and tend to get more aggressive as the season progresses (depending on the species). Before contacting your local pest control company to remove these pests, continue reading to learn how to identify them.

Types of Wasps in the Pacific Northwest

Although there are thousands of wasp species in the world, there are only a few you actually may encounter here in the Portland and Vancouver area.
Yellowjacket up close.


Yellowjackets are social wasps with black and yellow bodies. They’re the smallest of social wasps and are attracted to other insects and even human food. They typically build nests in areas where they’ll go undisturbed such as in eaves, trees, and underground. They’re very aggressive especially in the late summer and early fall when food becomes scarce.
Paper Wasp on a fruit.

Paper Wasps

Paper wasps are social wasps. They’re similar in appearance to yellowjackets but are generally darker. They also have more slender bodies and longer legs compared to yellowjackets. Their most distinguishable trait is their nests. Paper wasps build small paper comb nests that look like an upside-down umbrella when they’re hanging. Paper wasps are the most docile of the three main social wasp species. They’re considered beneficial as they help control fruit-destroying insects.
Mud Dauber on flowers.

Mud Daubers

Mud daubers are solitary wasps that are mostly black than yellow with long, string-like waists and two body sections. They build their nests out of clay or mud usually in the cracks of masonry, stone, or timber buildings. Like paper wasps, mud daubers are also beneficial as they pollinate flowers and prey on other insects.

Bald-Faced Hornet on a leaf.Bald-Faced Hornets

Bald-faced hornets are mostly black with patterned white faces. They build large papery nests commonly found in trees, shrubs, and along buildings. These wasps generally feed on nectar and fruit juices and will not hesitate to attack when it comes to defending their home.

Wasp Control Experts

Some stinging insects pose more serious threats than others. If you’re dealing with wasps on your property, contact Pioneer Pest Management for expert advice. We proudly serve the Portland and Vancouver metro area. We’ll be able to properly identify the pest species and recommend a solution.