Actual Size: ½” to 1”

Characteristics: Black or dark brown, usually with yellow markings.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Habitat: Paper carton nests made up of chewed cellulose found in eaves or attics. Also nest in underground burrows.


  • Nests made of papery material, either aerial or underground
  • Live in colonies with up to 4,000 workers
  • Most active and aggressive in late summer and early fall

Yellowjackets in Santa Fe and Albuquerque NM

Yellowjackets are are known as one of the more aggressive social wasps that are commonly encountered in the summer and fall. The coloration varies by species, but the most commonly encountered yellowjackets typically have abdomens that are banded with yellow and black. Their legs are yellow in color. They feed on insects including caterpillars, flies, and other flying insects.

As colonies grow in numbers throughout the summer, they become more attracted to sweet foods consumed by humans. These beneficial wasps live in colonies with thousands of individuals. They tend to nest in structural voids, attics and cavities associated with landscaping features, often in residential areas.

Yellowjacket Habitat

Yellowjackets can be found anywhere humans are found, and nests are constructed of layers of comb made of tiny bits of wood fiber chewed into a paper-like pulp. Yellowjacket nests can be found in many different places in or around a home, including the ground, hollow trees, shrubs, bushes, or internally in attics, hollow walls or flooring, sheds, under porches or eaves of buildings. Unlike paper wasps who only build their nests above ground, yellowjackets will build both aerial and underground nesting sites. When disturbed, yellowjackets are quite aggressive and can attack in large numbers.

Yellowjacket Behaviors & Threats

Unless they feel threatened or their nest is endangered, yellowjackets aren’t likely to sting. However, yellowjacket stings pose a more serious threat to humans than bees. This is because yellowjackets have a smooth stinger, allowing it to sting repeatedly. Some individuals are more sensitive than others, due to allergic reactions, and should seek medical attention when stung.

Sometimes yellowjackets living in wall voids chew their way through the drywall and enter the structure’s living space. Naturally, the presence of large numbers of wasps flying around the room can be alarming to homeowners. If you notice a yellowjacket proble near your Santa Fe home, always contact your local wasp removal experts.