Currently viewing the category: "Paper Wasps"
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Standoff on the Kitchen Sink
Location:Tennessee
March 2, 2011
Hi Daniel and Lisa,
Hope this finds you both well.
This afternoon there was a little drama in my kitchen…Lady Bird Beetle is still there, the Paper Wasp has left the building (well…the area).
My question is, was it the pungent odor of the “Ladybug,” or just no real interest on the part of the wasp that caused an end to the standoff?  They danced around and around for nearly two hours without moving more than an inch in any direction.
Spring is springing up here in the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee.  YES!!!  Even the moths have begun their nightly flights.
More later, to be sure,
R.G. Marion

Lady Beetle and Paper Wasp

Hi R.G.,
It is nice to hear from you again.  While this meeting may appear confrontational, we suspect it is just a matter of a chance meeting.  Paper Wasps are nectar feeders that feed their larvae chewed and regurgitated insects, but the usual prey includes soft bodied insects like Caterpillars.

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Red round insects

Red Light Bulbs and a Paper Wasp Wing

Subject: Red round insects
Location: Austin, Texas
February 6, 2011 9:43 pm
Hi bugman, this is the second time I have seen these tiny, tiny red bugs. They look like small red light bulbs?
Any thoughts, I have looked on-line and still cannot seem to find a match.
Hope you can help.
ESP.
Signature: East Side Patch

Heteropteran Nymphs Scavenging a Paper Wasp Carcass

Dear East Side Patch,
We found a very similar looking Heteropteran Nymph on BugGuide that is identified as a
Largus species or Bordered Plant Bug.  We located another photo on BugGuide of an later instar nymph of Largus californicus, which should be called the California Bordered Bug (though it is also reported from Texas on BugGuide). Many phytophagous Heteropterans or True Bugs scavenge dead insects in their immature stages.  The biggest difference we notice between your Heteropteran Nymphs and the Largus nymphs on BugGuide is that your species has longer, striped antennae.

Thank you so much for these!
This one has had me puzzled for quite some time!
Philip.

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Critters
Location: Southern Tip of Texas – 8 miles from border. McAllen
January 18, 2011 5:36 pm
Found this guy in a huge nest in an oak tree in deep south Texas. Not much bigger than a housefly.
Signature: Bob G

Mexican Honey Wasp

Hi Bob,
This is a very exciting posting for us as it represents a new species for our site.  This is a Mexican Honey Wasp,
Brachygastra mellifica, and according to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on honey (3), and probably also pollen; this is unusual for vespids.“  BugGuide also indicates the Mexican Honey Wasp is:  “Eusocial, that is, highly social, with worker and reproductive castes. More than one queen per hive, and there are females present with ovaries intermediate in size between workers and queens. Form large colonies by swarming (coordinated groups of queens and workers). Store honey, but do not cap cells, as do bees. Nests are perennial, built in low trees, with as many as 50,000 cells.“  BugGuide also states:  “One of the very few insects other than bees to produce and store honey.  Comment from Dr. Joan Strassmann, “They are docile a lot, but then they can explode, attacking en masse.

Mexican Honey Wasp

My neighbor has small kids and called a bug company that came and removed the nest. It was huge. Two-three feet tall and about a foot wide.
Thanks so much for the info!!
Thanks,
Bob Geissler

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Paper Wasp

Paper Wasp

Paper Wasp
Location: Missouri
November 12, 2010 10:06 am
I found this Paper Wasp this past summer hanging around my front flower bed. I grabbed my camera and spent some time watching her. She kept going back and forth from our wooden bench, flying off (to wherever her nest is I’m sure) then coming back. Every so often she would take a ”snack” break on our Milkweeds. It was really interesting watching her work cycle.
I have also noticed that Wasps I encounter are not extremely aggressive as their reputation claims. If I can find them away from their nest, they don’t seem to mind me at all. I was within 12-18 inches away from this wasp for the wooden bench shots and not once did I feel like I was going to be stung. I think the danger of being near a wasp must come with getting too close to their home…..away from their home, they just don’t seem to mind a human presence as much.
My ID: Female Polistes metricus.
Signature: Nathanael Siders

Paper Wasp

Hi Nathanael,
As always, your photos are quite marvelous.  We love your accounts of your observations as well, if not more.  We agree with your theory about the aggressions of Paper Wasps being limited to protection of the nest, and we find it somehow ironic that so many people would take issue with something defending its home.  It seems like that is the American way.

Paper Wasp

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Paper Wasp Nestlings
Location:  Chicago Ridge, IL
July 24, 2010 1:29 pm
Hi! There’s a sweet nest of paper wasps outside my back door. I’ve been taking pics and video of their nest building and activities, and I’m quite sure they’ve laid eggs, by their behavior, but I’m not sure what the specific deets are.
I see glistening drops inside the nest, tiny, seed-like, yellow-rice grain bits (eggs?), and amber-colored, shiny ooze.
Whatever could these things be? I’m guessing eggs, food/nectar, pupae/larvae, but I don’t know which is which, or who is who.
Can you help me out?
Thanks!
Krissy K.

European Paper Wasp Nest

Hi Krissy,
Your Paper Wasps are European Paper Wasps,
Polistes dominula.  According to BugGuide, it is 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 (Bob Hammon, Colorado State U.)“  BugGuide also indicates:  “occurs throughout Eurasia; continues to expand North American range which is currently (2006) known to include northeastern US, Florida, Ontario, British Columbia, Washington to California and east to Colorado. The largest of the Paper Wasps in your photos is the queen and the others are the female workers.  The cells of the Paper Wasp nest are used solely for the purpose of raising young, not to store food.  The “yellow ricelike bits” you see are probably hatchling larvae and the fluids are food for the larvae.  BugGuide indicates:  “Larvae are fed chewed-up pieces of caterpillars and other insects caught by adults. The adults, like other paper wasps, feed on nectar from flowers and other sugary liquids.“  We also found a Cirrus Image page on the European Paper Wasp that contains some interesting information and opinions.

Yes, thanks!  I was wondering about the eggs, and droplets of goo in the nest.  Which bits are the eggs?  What is that goo?  Nectar to feed larvae?  Larvae?  The eggs themselves?
If you can be of any help, I’d totally appreciate it!  I haven’t been able to find pictures with descriptions of what is what inside the nest.

We repeat, The “yellow ricelike bits” you see are probably hatchling larvae and the fluids are food for the larvae.  The food would be chewed up insects.  The eggs might be too small to see easily, though the workers would not supply food to unhatched eggs, so any cells with small particles but no “goo” would be eggs.

 

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February 12, 2010
Well, encouraged by your kind words about my photos, I decided to take my current ‘project’ to the next stage: I’ve been photographing these wasps building their nest outside our house, behind a window, and today I thought of taking some outside photos of the progress. I removed the fly screen, stepped on the windowsill, and stretched my hand out with the camera to record detailed images of the geometric components of their nest. Surprise, surprise, the wasps didn’t like it. They suddenly turned on my camera, all of them in line, pointing and shaking their whiskers towards it, and before me realising what was happening, they made their move. I broke my camera when I dropped it, and I’m now tendering about three wasp bites on my swollen arm and fingers.
I think my camera memory card is still OK, so hopefully the nest photos are still there! In the meantime, can you identify my attackers from this earlier image:
Best,
Ridou

Australian Paper Wasp

Hi Ridou,
We are so sorry to hear about your unfortunate encounter with these Paper Wasps in the genus Polistes.  We believe they may be the Australian Paper Wasp, Polistes humilis.  The Brisbane Insect Website has some amazing photographs of this species.  Paper Wasps are not normally aggressive, but they will attack and sting if the nest is threatened.

Hi Bugman,
In case you’re interested: here are two images that I managed to get from my broken camera’s memory card: they were taken at the time when I dropped my camera because of the attack by these paper wasps… The first image shows the structure of the nest they’re building, and the second shows them lining up to defend it.
Best,
Ridou

Australian Paper Wasp Nest

Hi again Ridou,
Do you know if the second nest was from the previous year?

Australian Paper Wasp Nest

Yes, it was… Esa

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination