Currently viewing the category: "Paper Wasps"
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Subject: Orange wasp with blue wings
Location: Warsaw, MO
June 24, 2012 11:12 pm
I’ve searched all over and cannot match this wasp to anything I find. It has a distinguishing marking on its back.
Signature: Shane

Paper Wasp

Hi Shane,
This is a species of Paper Wasp in the genus
Polistes which BugGuide describes as:  “Semi-social wasps. Unlike social (eusocial) wasps, where workers are sterile females, in Polistes all females are potential breeders.”  We are uncertain of the exact species, but Polistes metricus has similar thoracic markings though the abdomen is darker.  See BugGuide for photos of that species.  Polistes carolina, the Red Wasp (also on BugGuide), has no markings on the thorax, but otherwise looks very similar to your wasps.  Perhaps your wasps are a hybrid, a color variation, or a different species altogether.

Paper Wasps

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Brown and yellow wasp/hornet?
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
February 23, 2012 8:07 pm
Dear Bugman, this creature has me befuddled. I tried looking up ”brown wasp” and found nothing similar – perhaps I gave up too soon? What puzzles me most is the apparent lack of eyes! It greeted me as I was coming home from work today (2/23/2012). It was 70 degrees and humid. Thanks much, and keep up the good work!
Signature: N. Fritz

Beheaded Paper Wasp

Dear N. Fritz,
Your Paper Wasp in the genus
Polistes has no eyes because it has been decapitated and the entire head is missing.  Though we are not certain of the species, your individual does look somewhat like the images of Polistes dorsalis that are posted on BugGuide.  The more interesting mystery for us is “What beheaded this Paper Wasp?”  We cannot think of a predator that would want to eat just the head, so we suspect this beheading might be related to a territory battle between colonies.

Dear Daniel,
How interesting!  It had occurred to me that perhaps it was missing a head, so yesterday after I wrote you, I looked at this paper wasp again. Its abdomen was clearly and obviously moving up and down, so I thought it must still be alive.  Can insects live without a head for some time?

Dear N. Fritz,
Cockroaches are reported be be able to live (if it can be called living) for several weeks without a head, though we know of no statistics on Paper Wasps.  See Scientific American for information.

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Nasty Wasp
Location: Hawkesbury, Sydney, Australia
December 4, 2011 5:19 pm
Hello again,
Wondering if you can identify this wasp. Sorry the picture is not too clear, but these are aggressive wasps and they’re deep in a fairly dense garden. I didn’t want to get any closer or move the bushes around in case I provoked an attack. The nest is in a geranium bush, but quite low to the ground and is around 8-10cm across. The wasps themselves are about 2.5-3cm long. My boyfriend was gardening there and was stung on the knee when he accidentally disturbed them. The sting was extremely painful and shortly afterwards he came over very hot for a while. The sting area was painful for about 2 weeks.
We are in the Hawkesbury region, a rural area about an hour out of Sydney.
Signature: Tracy

Paper Wasps

Hi Tracy,
These are Paper Wasps in the genus
Polistes.  They are not normally aggressive, but they will defend their nest.  We just finished posting another submission of Paper Wasps from Australia.

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Wasp Nest.
Location: Nsw, Australia, Near the coast.
December 2, 2011 3:02 am
Hi. I thought you might like some pictures of what we’ve always called a paper wasp nest, although I don’t know if thats what they actually are. I was very frightened that they would fly at me and start stinging me every time the flash whent off. I hope you like the pictures.
Thanks.
Signature: Emma

Paper Wasps and Nest

Hi Emma,
Thank you for braving danger to take photographs of these Paper Wasps in the genus
Polistes working on constructing their nest.  Paper Wasps are not normally aggressive, however, they will defend the nest.  We believe, based on photos posted to the Brisbane Insect website, that your wasps might be the Common Paper Wasp or Australian Paper Wasp, Polistes humilis.  There is a page dedicated to the species on the Brisbane Insect website.

Paper Wasps and Nest

Hi! I think the reason they didn’t attack me is because it was a rainy day. They seemed to be sleeping, they weren’t moving much. Thanks for letting me know what they are! I’ve found three nests around the farm already, without even looking very hard.

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Food chain
Location: southern indiana
November 21, 2011 7:07 am
Robber fly kills & eats wasp
Signature: brian

Giant Robber Fly eats Wasp

Hi Brian,
Your Robber Fly appears to be one of the Giant Robber Flies in the genus
Promachus.  BugGuide indicates “Adults predatory, often on Hymenoptera,” and your individual is fulfilling its reputation.  The wasp appears to be a Paper Wasp.

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August 27, 2011
Hi Daniel.
I am not normally a random bug killer but the aggressive behavior in this particular instance brought it out in me.
Just for your information, while up visiting in Canada last summer I ran across phoney wasp nests that claimed to stop other wasps from building nests nearby (within 200feet). I took a chance and bought a paper version and a cloth version. They work. I haven’t had a single issue with nest building wasps since I placed them. Just the occasional solitary variety like the mud-dobber (?). I brought back some for my neighbor this year and she has hung them up now. So we can see if they work or if I just had really good luck. Normally we have several varieties of nests to contend with.
I will let you know in the future how they back up their claim. Now if I could find a harmless way to rid our house of mosquitos and flies… That would be a trick
Regards, James
James Rankine

Thanks for the tip on Wasp’s Nests James.  We will notify our readers of your success with the product.  We found a link to a company called Canadian Tire that sells the decoy nests.

Daniel.
You are quite welcome. Growing up in Canada, I am very familiar with Canadian Tire. A very large reputable chain of stores.
Regards, James Rankine

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination