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.
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.