Vespula germanica, v. vulgaris, Polistes chinensis, p. humilis

Wasp: vespula and paper

Family: Vespidae

Origin: Asia, Australia, Europe, Northern Africa

An Asian paper wasp from the side showing the yellow and black stripes along its back.
Asian paper wasp nests are made from finely chewed plant fibers that are glued in place to form hexagonal cells with thin paper walls.

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Whole region — Sustained control
  • Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice pest

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Social insects that build nests out of fibre. Vespula wasps have black and yellow heads and bodies. Paper wasps are tan-red (Polistes humilis) or black and yellow (P. chinensis), have thinner abdomens than Vespula wasps, and fly with their legs hanging down.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell any wasp within the Auckland region.


Forest, shrubland, scrub, pasture, coastal areas, wetlands, urban areas.

Impact on environment

Preys on range of invertebrates, competes with native birds and invertebrates for honeydew. Aggressive stinging behaviours pose risk to human health. Attacks livestock, farm and forestry workers, and robs beehives of honey.



Refer to the Pest animal control guidelines for information on how to control wasps, or contact Auckland Council at

Asian paper wasp from above on a leaf.
The Asian paper wasp has black and yellow stripes.
Australian paper wasps climbing over a honeycomb.
Adults have yellow faces and are 10-15mm long with a tannish-red coloration. Nests are made up of hexagonal cells with very thin paper walls.