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

Subject: Hornet? Wasp? Mimic? Central FL, mid-Jan.
Location: Palm Bay, FL (Brevard County)
January 29, 2016 3:42 pm
Hello,
We live in east central Florida, and this beautiful insect was in our hibiscus plant recently (January, temps in upper 60’s). I have looked for hours and can’t identify it… the reddish colors and pattern don’t quite match any of the hornets, yellowjackets, wasps, or moths I’ve been able to find online. I wouldn’t be surprised if it is actually a wasp mimicking moth. It certainly wasn’t aggressive at all. Any thoughts on what this is?
Thanks,
Signature: Mike W.

Paper Wasp

Paper Wasp

Dear Mike,
We believe this is a Paper Wasp in the genus
Polistes, and it is most likely a light colored Polistes major like this individual from Georgia that is pictured on BugGuide.  We will check with Eric Eaton and get his opinion.

Paper Wasp

Paper Wasp

Eric Eaton Confirms ID.
Hi, Daniel:
Wow, great images!  Yes, this is a male Polistes major.  Male specimens of many Polistes appear paler in some cases than the female.  I also think these images were taken in very harsh light, which washes out the color on most insects.
Cheers,
Eric

Thank you! I have to agree that this seems to match my photos almost perfectly. The fact it’s an invasive species would certainly help explain why I had such a hard time figuring it out. But as long as it’s here, at least it’s attractive to look at! :)
Thanks again,
Mike

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Wasps or Hornets in winter
Location: Connecticut
January 28, 2016 7:58 am
A couple days ago, I was walking in my front yard and I saw a wasp/hornet/yellow jacket walking on top of the snow…
I live in central Connecticut, so it seemed a bit odd because I’ve never seen that before in my 44 years here.
Is this normal?
Thanks,
Signature: Michael

Paper Wasp in the Snow

European Paper Wasp in the Snow

Dear Michael,
We suspect this unusual sighting of a Paper Wasp in the genus
Polistes in the snow is related to the unseasonably warm weather experienced by much of the eastern U.S. through the end of 2015.  We are relatively certain this is an introduced European Paper Wasp, Polistes dominula, which is described on BugGuide as:  “No other species of Vespidae has mostly orange antennae.”  Because of the snow, your images were underexposed, but if the images are lightened, the antennae do appear to be orange.  BugGuide also notes:  “Only females are able to overwinter. Some ‘workers’ of previous season are able to survive and act as auxiliary females for the foundresses, provided the quiescent phase has been short enough. ”  You did not indicate what the temperatures were like on the day you took the images, but we are suspecting it was a warmer day, with temperatures above freezing, despite snow still being on the ground.  If the late start to winter allowed the nest to remain active considerably later in the season, and this individual survived a short “quiescent phase”, then it is possible she set out from the nest on a warm winter day.  BugGuide also notes:  “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 is prompting us to tag this as an Invasive Exotic, especially since the BugGuide range in quite extensive in North America considering the species has been reported here for less than 40 years.

Paper Wasp in the Snow

European Paper Wasp in the Snow

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Hairy wasp
Location: Gulf Shores, AL
January 28, 2016 7:59 am
We found this wasp under some lantana while we were weeding the garden. It was already dead and laying in the leaf litter. It appears to have long “hairs” that grew all over its body. Can you tell us what kind of wasp this is?
Found is Gulf Shores, AL. on 1/28/16
Signature: Gulf State Park

Paper Wasp covered in Fungus

Paper Wasp covered in Fungus

This is a Paper Wasp and it is being “devoured” by Fungus.  Many living insects are attacked by Fungus and they eventually die.  Dead insects in damp locations might also be broken down by Fungus.  This BugGuide image identifies the Cordyceps fungus.

Thank you so much for the quick reply. I thought it was just a normal paper wasp, but I had never seen anything quite like that! I thought that it maybe had roots growing out of it.  Thank you again!
Thanks,
Kelly

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What’s this bug?
Location: Grey Forest, Texas
November 8, 2015 11:28 am
We live near San Antonio, Texas and have seen this fellow a couple of times. He behaves somewhat like a robber fly, but I could not find a robber fly that looks like him. He is very hairy and quite large, as you can see in comparison to the red wasp. Red wasps are about an inch and a half long. He is quite noisy and slow in flight.
Signature: Dylan Tobe

Belzebul Bee-Eater eats Red Wasp

Belzebul Bee-Eater eats Red Wasp

Dear Dylan,
This impressive Robber Fly is a Belzebul Bee-Eater,
Mallophora leschenaulti, a magnificent predator that is capable of catching on wing and eating large stinging insects.  We are very proud of some images in our archives of the courtship activity of Belzebul Bee Eaters.  We are also noting that your images indicate they were taken in August, and not in November.

Dear Daniel:  Thank you for responding so quickly.  Yes, correct, we took the picture this summer, but just found your site today.  Dylan

Now that you found us, you should visit more often.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Wasp of some kind
Location: North Carolina
October 18, 2015 7:12 am
Hey bugman , just wondering what type of bug is this??
Signature: Ace

Paper Wasp consumed by Fungus

Paper Wasp consumed by Fungus

Dear Ace,
This insect is a Paper Wasp in the genus
Polistes, however, its appearance has been altered by a fungus infection that eventually killed the wasp.  This is, to the best of our knowledge, the only image we have on our site of a Paper Wasp consumed by fungus, but we do have images of a Tarantula attacked by Fungus, Cellar Spiders with Fungus Infections and a Raspy Cricket with a Fungus Infection.  Here is an interesting article from National Geographic on Mind Control Fungus and there is also a National Geographic image of a wasp infested with fungus.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Weird wasps?
Location: Southwest Saskatchewan , canada
October 9, 2015 1:31 pm
I had 5 of these turn up betweeny screen and window. I live in southwestern Saskatchewan, Canada. It is early October. The window is a full on southern exposure. I just want to know if these are wasps? Do they sting? Where do they come from?
Signature: Steph stuart

Paper Wasp

Paper Wasp

Sear Steph,
This is a Paper Wasp in the genus
Polistes and it came from another mated Paper Wasp that laid eggs.  Paper Wasps are a social species that constructs a nest from chewed wood and bark and we suspect the nest may be in the eaves near the window.  Paper Wasps may sting to defend the nest, but they are not typically an aggressive genus.  Based on this BugGuide image, we believe your Paper Wasp is Polistes aurifer.

Thanks a lot.  I’m going to have a look and see if I can find the nest.  If it is under the 2nd storey eaves and they aren’t aggressive I may just leave them alone.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination