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Hello from Trinidad and Tobago
Just blogged your site for, and you should get some more viewers that way… 2 reasons for writing. You’re providing an invaluable service, and I’m going to thank you. Because of your site I was able to identify one spider (I forget it’s name) that’s called a tailless scorpion or something… Scared the hell out of me when I was cleaning the yard last year! 🙂 Harmless, and it’s still around. You might find some of these pictures useful: you’re free to use them. Some of them I have no idea of what they are (like the ones near the carilee), but the majority look like stinkbugs – colorful. The Jack Spaniard is very common here. Your site is reaching the size where a content management system might help you – save you and users time, etc. I don’t know how savvy you folks are, but I would suggest Drupal ( ) when the next release comes out. I think your site has grown to a level where, though obviously a labor of love, it might become limiting to you and others. Drupal’s free to use and install. It’s open source. You can do it yourself if you want – and if you run into problems, there are a lot of people who can help. It doesn’t hurt to look. And it could help you get the site to pay for itself by making information easier to find. Good luck, and please keep up the good work. I just thought you might like to consider those ideas.
Taran Rampersad
Presently in: San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago

Hi Taran,
Until our current webhost, who is managing things for us, kicks us to the curb, we are going to keep the status quo, but thanks for the advice. We love your local name for your Polistes Paper Wasp. Do you know the origin of Jack Spaniard?

Speculation: Probably something along the lines of ‘stings like a Spaniard’, especially in a former Spanish and then English colony. Trinidad and Tobago has quite a mix in names because of it’s mixed past. I believe that they call it the same in Guyana. Perhaps it’s a British colonial name for an insect that stings pretty aggressively.

I am the operations manager at a large retreat Center and Summer Camp in Dallas Texas. We have a tall tower that the kids ride a zip line down. Every Fall these wasp swarm the tower. They are not aggressive, but needless to say, kids running and swatting at wasp 50′ in the air is not good. There are no nest, just hundreds of these wasp flying around the top of the tower. the strange thing is they are just at the top of the tower and no where else.
The attached pics are of the wasp. pic_a wasp are larger than pic_b wasp. There seems to be a equal # of both. I don’t know if they are the same species and pic_b is a juvenile. We have tried wasp spray and smoke to no avail. Any ideas???
Thanks for the Help

Hi Ronney,
Your wasps are Paper Wasp from the genus Polistes. They inhabit meadows fields and gardens where they take nectar from flowers and they are often found near buildings. They are social wasps. Several females work together to construct an uncovered paperlike, hanging nest made of wood pulp and saliva. The Audubon Guide to Insects and Spiders goes on to say that : “One female becomes dominant queen. Ist few generations in summer are all females, cared for as larvae by unmated female workers. Unfertilized eggs produce fertile males. Only mated young queens overwinter under leaf litter and in stone walls. Old queens, workers, and larvae die. Paper Wasps are much more tolerant of people and minor disturbances than are hornets and yellow jackets.” Your species is probably Polistes apachus which occurs in Texas, New Mexico, southern California, and Mexico.