Subject: slowly overcoming my wasp phobia
Location: Missouri, United States
April 16, 2015 10:19 pm
I’m quite proud of myself, this wasp fell out of my hair and onto the ground yesterday and it didn’t look like she (he?) could fly. I watched her fumble around on some weeds for a bit and then I held my hand there and she crawled on.
I was very scared, I’ve had countless bad experiences with wasps. but this went very well and I hope to have good experiences with them more often.
I believe this wasp is in the polistes genus? a paper wasp of some sort?
Congratulations on your new confidence. We agree that this is a Paper Wasp in the genus Polistes, and we thought that perhaps you were not stung because the individual was a male, so we researched how to tell the sexes apart. According to BugGuide: “Males have curly antennae and yellow faces, exception being P. annularis males, which have red faces just like females.” Your individual does not match images of P. annularis posted to BugGuide, so we are presuming your individual is a female. Your individual resembles the allegedly aggressive Red Wasp, Polistes carolina, that is the subject of many comments on our site, but BugGuide does not list the Red Wasp occurring in Missouri. Perhaps your individual is the very similar looking Polistes rubiginosus, that according to BugGuide, is reported from Missouri.