What Do Baby Wasps Look Like?

July 16, 2023
David Sunnyside

Wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets are aggressive insects that can cause real trouble around your home or garden. To prevent wasps from stinging you, it's best to remove their nests as soon as possible after they are built. That means getting to know what baby wasps look like, so you can recognize them.

Baby wasps, also known as larvae, are white and very different from the black and yellow striped adults you see buzzing around your picnic. They are born in special sacs that contain egg cells. During their 12 to 18 day larval stage, they eat and grow in the sac until they are full-sized and ready to pupate.

As they enter their pupal stage, the larva sheds its skin about five times. The growing wasp then spins a silk cap over the cell and enters its adult form.

A wasp's pupal stage can take anywhere from two weeks to a month. During this time, the pupa feeds itself by eating other wasps and animals that it brings back to its nest. This is a way for the wasp to gain strength and develop its stinging organs, which must be fully developed before an adult wasp can fly.

As a pupa, baby wasps are fairly inactive and will usually look more like an inactive lump than something that is ready to turn into a wasp. Depending on the species, the pupa may take on a distinctive shape. For example, paper wasp pupae have a narrow waist and a cone-shaped abdomen, while those of yellowjackets have a mud dauber-like appearance.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
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