Subject: What is she eating?
Location: Andover, NJ
May 27, 2014 12:27 pm
I was trying to get some shots of this paper wasp when I realized that it (she?) was eating or carrying something. I wasn’t able to get enough magnification in the image to determine what was in the wasps mouth, although it does look a little like a grub. The wasp eventually got tired of me taking pictures and took off with whatever it was still in its jaws. I’d be very interested in what was going on here.
It would be very difficult to identify the prey in your images conclusively, however, we can make an educated guess. Paper Wasps in the genus Polistes take nectar for nourishment, however, the workers do capture insects to feed to the developing larvae in the nest. Caterpillars are a favored prey of Paper Wasps, and when they are captured, the caterpillars are often skinned and rolled into a ball for easy transportation back to the nest. We feel strongly that the prey in your images is a Caterpillar.
Thank you! What a fascinating thing to observe. I thought it might be too early for them to be feeding larvae, but I guess it’s not. Very cool.