Currently viewing the category: "Paper Wasps"
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Subject: Wasp?
Location: Brigantine, New Jersey, USA
August 20, 2014 1:30 pm
Hi,
I wonder if you can help me out with the id of this one?!
Signature: Kristian

European Hornet???

Male Northern Paper Wasp

Hi Kristian,
Though the coloration is dark, especially on the abdomen, this looks like a European Hornet to us.  We have requested a second opinion.
This individual on BugGuide looks darker than most.

Correction Courtesy of Eric Eaton
Hi, Daniel:
Very nice image of a male Northern Paper Wasp, Polistes fuscatus.  A European Hornet would be much bigger, more robust in body shape, but I’ve seen both and the difference is striking to me.  I also don’t know what context or story came with the image.
Eric

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Subject: Stinging flying insect.
Location: Mesa Arizona
August 18, 2014 1:26 pm
I was stung today by these lovely little guys, when I went to insect identification and clicked Arizona, I however was at a loss to find them! The nest is smaller than a baseball and they’re probably only 1 1/2 inches in length (not that I got close enough to measure) I was wondering if you could help my figure out just who’s living in my hedge bush!
Signature: Lynn

Paper Wasp Nest

Paper Wasp Nest

Dear Lynn,
These are Paper Wasps in the genus
Polistes, and they are social wasps that build nests.  Generally, solitary wasps are not aggressive, but social wasps will defend the nest.  With that said, Paper Wasps are not as aggressive as Yellowjackets or Hornets, but they will still defend the nest.  We believe your individuals are Polistes flavus based on images posted to BugGuide.

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Subject: Yellow wasp
Location: Taitung, Taiwan
August 14, 2014 8:34 am
This wasp was very busy getting nectar from the flowers on my dads tree, so I managed to get a few shots of it. I don’t know what kind of wasp it is, whether it’s dangerous or not. Either way, I left it alone after getting the photos.
Signature: Rebecca

Paper Wasp

Paper Wasp

Dear Rebecca,
This is a Paper Wasp in the genus
Polistes, but we are not certain of the species.  We suspect that Paper Wasps in Taiwan behave much like Paper Wasps in other parts of the world.  Some species are more aggressive than others, but solitary individuals gathering nectar do not pose much of a threat to humans.  Paper Wasps are social wasps that build a nest, and they will defend a nest against a potential threat, so we would strongly urge people not to disturb the nest of a Paper Wasp.  According to BugGuide, which deals with North American species:  “Semi-social wasps. Unlike social (eusocial) wasps, where workers are sterile females, in Polistes all females are potential breeders. (See comments below for details.) Fertilized queens overwinter in crevices or under bark. In spring they build a nest and the colony builds up over the summer. At first, only workers (sterile females) are produced. Mature colonies have up to 30 adults. A young queen is the sole survivor of the colony. (I am presuming this queen disperses to find an unrelated male on flowers in the fall.)”  BugGuide also notes:  “Not as aggressive as Hornets, Yellowjackets. May be considered beneficial to gardeners because of predation on herbivorous insects.

Paper Wasp

Paper Wasp

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Subject: Looks to be a Red-footed Cannibalfly
Location: Franklin, TN (Nashville area)
August 11, 2014 1:32 pm
We’re looking for a confirmation on this being a robber fly. Your site was soo helpful in both researching what we saw out our front door and learning more about the bug in question.
This guy was about 3 cm in length and “snacking” on a wasp.
Our 3 and 5 yr old were fighting for the best position to watch this guy through a window. Question – how bad would a bite from this guy be to a small kid? And, is it okay to hang out around them as they protect our air space?
Signature: Jeff

Red Footed Cannibalfly eats Paper Wasp

Red Footed Cannibalfly eats Paper Wasp

Hi Jeff,
We agree that this is a Red Footed Cannibalfly, and it appears to be eating a Paper Wasp in the genus
Polistes (See BugGuide).  We believe a bite from a Red Footed Cannibalfly would be painful, but otherwise present no lasting effects, however we should qualify that that we believe the chances of being bitten are at about 0% unless a person decided to try to catch a Red Footed Cannibalfly by hand.  They are not aggressive towards humans, and if provoked, they would most likely just fly off.  Handling them is a totally different matter.

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Subject: red footed
Location: alabama
July 26, 2014 2:49 pm
Does this thing bite or sting humans?
Signature: freaked out

Redfooted Cannibalfly eats Paper Wasp

Red-Footed Cannibalfly eats Paper Wasp

Dear freaked out,
Though the Red-Footed Cannibalfly,
Promachus rufipes, is a very adept hunter capable of taking stinging wasps like this Paper Wasp on the wing, they are not aggressive towards humans.  With that said, if a human ever tried to capture a Red-Footed Cannibalfly or other large Robber Fly with bare hands, a bite may result.

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Subject: Two different bugs
Location: Upstate SC
May 28, 2014 5:10 am
We went on a little hike in a nearby wetlands area and along our way we found two interesting bugs. One of them looks like a kind of wasp to me, the other one is completely new to me! I’m curious what they are, especially the one with the long stinger for a nose? Thanks for helping out!
Signature: Joyce H.

Paper Wasp

Paper Wasp

Dear Joyce,
We have already written back that you submitted images of a Bee Fly and a Paper Wasp.  We are posting your image of the Paper Wasp in the genus
Polistes.  It appears it might be chewing on that weathered wood to make paper pulp for the construction of its nest.  Paper Wasps make nests of chewed wood pulp, creating chambers for raising young.  The nest has a queen and the colony survives for a single season.  Based on its coloring and markings and its resemblance to this image on BugGuide, this might be a Northern Paper Waps, Polistes fuscatus, which despite its common name, ranges as far south as Florida.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination