paper wasps and alien fungal spaceship?
Location: Ocean Beach, CA
July 27, 2011 6:18 pm
JULY 27, 2011
This is the 2nd year our yard is well-populated by old-bamboo-fiber-stripping lawn-level cruising maybe paper-wasps of some sort judging by looks and behavior.
Visually back-tracking them to their apparent home in a 30+ ft high mature date palm a half block away we discovered a very disconcerting structure.
We don’t know if the structure is related to the wasps or not because we can’t get up there (and frankly don’t want to without hazmat gear), but – well, you can see in the images that it’s highly coincidental.
So, omniscient entomologistas: Paper Wasps? European neo-bauhaus nest? Alien fungal growth?
ps: the city vector crew were nonplussed and apathetic, equally.
First, though we are flattered, we make far too many identification mistakes to ever accept the superlative modifier “omniscient”. Your wasp is in fact a European Paper Wasp, Polistes dominula, and it matches this image on BugGuide, but as you can see from this photo on BugGuide, the nest of a paper wasp is nothing like the “thing” in the date palm, so we will address that in a different posting. BugGuide notes that the European Paper Wasp 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.” While we acknowledge that introduced species can be beneficial with regards to insect control, when they displace native species, that seriously compromises species diversity in the local ecosystem. For that reason, we feel we need to tag these European Paper Wasps as Invasive Exotics.