City Cast

How To Protect Yourself From Paper Wasps

Brooke Lewis
Posted on August 1
During the summer, it's easy to spot a paper wasp flying around Houston. 
(Philippe Gerber/Getty Images)

During the summer, it's easy to spot a paper wasp flying around Houston.
(Philippe Gerber/Getty Images)

For me, it’s not a Texas summer unless I’m nervous about getting stung by a wasp on someone’s porch. Paper wasps are common in Texas. Here’s how you can spot them.

These wasps vary in color, ranging from a reddish-orange, dark brown, to yellow. Sometimes before you see these wasps flying around, you’ll spot their nest, usually in roof eaves, garages, barns, sheds, shrubs or other protected areas. Their nests are made of chewed wood fiber, shaped like an umbrella, and can grow up to 6 to 8 inches.

One wasp, known as the foundress wasp, is the first to start building the nest. She lays eggs and collects food. Once more wasps are born, they continue the foundress’s job of building out the nest, collecting food, and completing other tasks to keep the nest thriving.

  • Wear light-colored clothing that covers most of your body.
  • Avoid wearing perfume.
  • Make sure to discard unused food.
  • If you have severe allergies to insect bites or stings, carry an EpiPen with you.
  • If you’re stung by a wasp: try to alert someone close by in case of a severe allergic reaction, wash the area with soap and water, try to remove the stinger with a gauze wipe or your fingernail, apply ice, and don’t scratch.
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