Currently viewing the category: "Paper Wasps"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Hornet? Wasp?
Location: Holly Springs, NC
August 13, 2016 1:54 pm
Dear bugman,
What is this? Found a nest, was stung!
Signature: Ouch

Paper Wasp

Paper Wasp

We believe based on the image on Dick Locke’s site and this BugGuide image that this Paper Wasp may be Polistes dorsalis.  This is not an aggressive species, but they will defend the nest.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: wasp?
Location: Chandler AZ
June 7, 2016 5:52 pm
curious about the 3 dots on the head.
This is a great site and I want to thank you for all your effort.
Signature: Doc

Paper Wasp

Paper Wasp

Dear Doc,
This is a Paper Wasp in the genus
Polistes, and we believe it most closely resembles Polistes aurifer which is pictured on BugGuide.  Though the article is talking about bees, The Honey Bee Guide has a good explanation of the three simple eyes at the top of many insects’ heads:  “The three other eyes are called simple eyes or ocelli. They are at the top of the bee’s head in a triangular pattern and are very small. These eyes don’t see images but can detect light, especially changes in light. The ocelli help bees escape danger because if something is swooping down to eat them, the shadow created by the predator alerts the bee that something is wrong and gives it time to fly away. The compound eyes together with the ocelli make it very hard to sneak up on a bee.”  Just FYI:  This will probably be our last response to an inquiry for the next week as we will be away from the office, returning on June 17.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Costa Rica wasp or hornet with really painful sting
Location: Manzanillo, Costa Rica (small town on the southern Caribbean side)
June 1, 2016 12:46 am
Dear Sir,
Currently I am on a holiday in Costa Rica. Unfortunately today I bumped head first into a nest of black wasps or hornets, by accident. I have been stung in my head a dozen times and it was extremely painful. The nest was hanging underneath a tree on the beach of Manzanillo. I jumped in the water. The bugs died after the sting and left their piercer behind. The piercer was hard and light yellow. I think I managed to get them all out, but it is difficult to tell since the stings are in my hair. So now I am wondering: what are those little devils from hell and how dangerous are the stings? Do I need to get medical attention? I do not think I am allergic (it happend 10 hours ago and I am still not really swollen) but it still hurts a lot. Thank you very much in advance for your time!
Signature: Unlucky tourist

Wasp

Wasp

Dear Unlucky Tourist,
Though your insect sure appears to be a Wasp, we are not aware of any Wasps that lose their stingers upon stinging.  That is a characteristic of Bee stings.  According to the Boston Globe:  “For a bee, a sting is all or nothing; the bee loses its stinger and injects a relatively large volume of venom — typically about 50 micrograms.  A wasp, which retains its stinger, injects from 2 to 15 micrograms — but it can do it many times.”  The nest is that of a social Wasp, and unlike solitary Wasps that are relatively docile, social Wasps will defend the nest.  We believe we may have discovered the identity of your Wasps.  In Discover Magazine we found an article entitled “Stung” that states:  “One morning not long ago, an American entomologist named Justin Schmidt was making his way up the winding road to the Monteverde cloud forest in Costa Rica when he spotted Parachartergus fraternus, social wasps known both for the sculptured architecture of their hives and the ferocity with which they defend them.”  Then we found an article on America Pink that states:  “For a wasp species, Parachartergus fraternus is average in size. A typical
Parachartergus fraternus forager is about 11 mm long, 3 mm wide across its thorax, and weighs about 0.05 g.”  The Sting of the Wild does not describe the sting, but rather the ability of the wasps to spray venom.

Wasp Nest

Wasp Nest

Dear Daniel,
Thank you so much for your response. It is strange that they lost their stinger. I am questioning right now if it was in fact their stinger, or maybe the venom had some reaction with the sea water and turned hard? I most certainly pulled something hard out of every sting. It remains a mystery. I do not know if they sprayed any venom since it all went so fast. Hopefully this information might help you in the future with similar cases. Thanks so much!
Best regards,
Renske Anna

Wasp

Wasp

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
European Paper Wasp and California Mantidling

European Paper Wasp and California Mantidling

Subject:  Paper Wasp and California Mantid Nymph found among the primrose plants
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
May 30, 2016 6:30 PM
We were out working in the yard on Memorial Day and we noticed a Paper Wasp in the genus
Polistes resting on a tall primrose stalk, so we decided to take a few images to identify the species.  Well, as often happens in the garden, we got distracted and we remembered as the light was beginning to wane.  Upon returning, much to our glee, we found a young California Mantid on the same stalk.  The Mantid has more than doubled in size since we first discovered hatchlings back in early April.  We couldn’t help but to be amused that in a few more months, the Paper Wasp might have to worry about becoming a meal for the Mantid.  We are relatively certain that the wasp is a European Paper Wasp, Polistes dominula, which we identified on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “An introduced species from Eurasia, often mistaken for a yellow jacket. First reported in North America by G.C. Eickwort in 1978 near Boston, Massachusetts.  There are reports of it replacing native species of wasps in some areas” which may be a problem as it has spread throughout much of North America in less than forty years, according to BugGuide.

European Paper Wasp

European Paper Wasp

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Wasp or hornet
Location: Costa Rica near Arenal Volcano
April 7, 2016 9:31 am
Could you tell me what type of bug this is? Wasp or hornet? What kind? Does it sting?
Thanks!
Signature: Paige

Carton Wasp Nest

Carton Wasp Nest

Dear Paige,
Upon researching your request, we first encountered out own posting of Warrior Wasps,
Synoeca septentrionalis, and we believe your images depict the same species.  Alas, not all websites have the longevity that we enjoy, and several of the links from our 2014 posting are no longer active.  We did locate new images on American Insects that identify two members of the genus, Synoeca septentrionalis or S. surinama, as Carton Wasps, and this information is provided:  “Synoeca species are distributed from Mexico to Argentina.  The genus is a small one, with five described species (Andena et al., 2009).  Wasps in this genus are swarm founders, with a queen and a number of workers moving together to a site for a new nest. Swarm founders (which also include other genera such as Agelaia and Polybia) make large and elaborate nests, usually inside an envelope.  In certain other paper wasp genera, nests are founded by a queen without the help of workers, and typically the nests are smaller and exposed (Nadkarni and Wheelright, editors, 2000).  Two species of Synoeca are yellowish overall:  S. chalibea and S. virginea.  The other 3 species are bluish to blackish. Wings are dark. Nests house about 200 individuals and are often attached to a leaning tree; if disturbed, the wasps inside making a drumming noise.  As the nest grows, its external surface has transverse corrugations looking like an armadillo’s back, hence these wasps are locally referred to as ‘armadillos’ or ‘cachicamas.'”  According to the National Science Foundation:  “In some areas of South America, the local name for this species is ‘armadillo wasp,’ in reference to the form of the nest. When mildly disturbed, the workers will produce an ominous rhythmic sound by rubbing against the nest paper. In Costa Rica, they are euphemistically called ‘guitar players.’ Upon further disturbance, they are capable of mounting a ferocious attack, and the stings are reputed to be exquisitely painful. The sting apparatus is barbed, and will often embed in the skin of the unlucky nest predator. This wasp is mimicked by many less-dangerous insects, presumably to gain protection from the resemblance.”  We really enjoyed researching your request.

Carton Wasp

Carton Wasp

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Are these bees? Are they dangerous?
Location: Guatemala
March 2, 2016 3:38 pm
Hi,
I have two types of bees (?) in my back patio. One type is big in size and just starting a nest, very slowly (they seem to take forever, it has been the same size for weeks) and I only see like 4 or 5 of them (see picture 1).
The other type are much smaller but they have a much bigger nest (see picture 2).
My question is the ones you see on picture 1, are they dangerous? They look a bit scary.
Thanks!
Signature: Danielle

Paper Wasp Nest

Paper Wasp Nest

Dear Danielle,
Your first image depicts the construction of a Paper Wasp nest, most likely a member of the genus
Polistes.  Like other social wasps, they will defend the nest from an intruder or attacker by stinging, but they are not considered aggressive.  We tried to search species from Guatemala, and we found this image on ABC Wildlife that appears to be the same as your species, but there is no name provided.  Here is a similar nest from our own archives.  Your other nest appears to be a Hornet Nest.

Hornet Nest

Hornet Nest


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination