Subject: Friendly wasp nesting in my balcony
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
July 19, 2015 9:00 am
I’d like to know what kind of wasp the one pictured in the attached photos is. Unlike the “common” wasp here in Europe, who is probably the most annoying insect on this planet, these not only keep to themselves, they even look afraid of humans as they clumsily fly away when I get close.
The problem is that they’ve nested underneath my balcony table. Since they always keep their distance, I managed to convince my wife to leave them alone. I hate to harm any form of life. But she’s gonna freak out when she returns from her vacation and realizes that they are spreading and building new nests under the table.
Besides the identification, do you know if:
– These are known to bite easily? From my observations it does not seem to be the case as I’ve bumped into the table several times and passed really close to the nests causing several of them to fly out stunned and they never attacked.
– Is there a product or any other way to “convince” them to move away without harming them? They are building new nests at the moment so I guess they could do it elsewhere if only my balcony table stopped being a welcoming place for them.
Thanks in advance for the identification and any tip in helping my solve this problem without harming the wasps.
This is the nest of the European Paper Wasp, Polistes dominula, a common European species. To the best of our knowledge, this is not an aggressive species, but they may sting in an effort to protect the nest. According to Animal Diversity Web: “European paper wasps live in temperate and terrestrial habitats including chaparral, forest and grassland biomes. They reside in urban, suburban, and agricultural locations. They tend to reside close to human civilization because they nest in human structures. They also live in forests and on plants where they can feed and nest. When nesting, they choose spaces created by farm machinery and recreational structures. During winter, impregnated queens reside in protected locations such as within house walls or in hollow trees. These females then create nests in these locations or nearby at the beginning of spring.” According to Penn State Entomology: “Before 1981, the European paper wasp was not recorded in North America. In its native region, P. dominula is the most abundant paper wasp in those countries around the Mediterranean. It is also found in southern Europe, northern Africa, the Middle East, and eastward into China. A highly successful colonizer, this wasp has rapidly increased its distribution in the United States during the past 20 years. Before the introduction of this new species, the northern paper wasp, Polistes fuscatus , was the most frequently encountered species in and around structures in Pennsylvania.” We cannot think of a feasible means of convincing them to move when they already have an established nest.