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European Paper Wasp and California Mantidling

European Paper Wasp and California Mantidling

Subject:  Paper Wasp and California Mantid Nymph found among the primrose plants
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
May 30, 2016 6:30 PM
We were out working in the yard on Memorial Day and we noticed a Paper Wasp in the genus
Polistes resting on a tall primrose stalk, so we decided to take a few images to identify the species.  Well, as often happens in the garden, we got distracted and we remembered as the light was beginning to wane.  Upon returning, much to our glee, we found a young California Mantid on the same stalk.  The Mantid has more than doubled in size since we first discovered hatchlings back in early April.  We couldn’t help but to be amused that in a few more months, the Paper Wasp might have to worry about becoming a meal for the Mantid.  We are relatively certain that the wasp is a European Paper Wasp, Polistes dominula, which we identified on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “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” which may be a problem as it has spread throughout much of North America in less than forty years, according to BugGuide.

European Paper Wasp

European Paper Wasp

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Subject: Wasp or hornet
Location: Costa Rica near Arenal Volcano
April 7, 2016 9:31 am
Could you tell me what type of bug this is? Wasp or hornet? What kind? Does it sting?
Thanks!
Signature: Paige

Carton Wasp Nest

Carton Wasp Nest

Dear Paige,
Upon researching your request, we first encountered out own posting of Warrior Wasps,
Synoeca septentrionalis, and we believe your images depict the same species.  Alas, not all websites have the longevity that we enjoy, and several of the links from our 2014 posting are no longer active.  We did locate new images on American Insects that identify two members of the genus, Synoeca septentrionalis or S. surinama, as Carton Wasps, and this information is provided:  “Synoeca species are distributed from Mexico to Argentina.  The genus is a small one, with five described species (Andena et al., 2009).  Wasps in this genus are swarm founders, with a queen and a number of workers moving together to a site for a new nest. Swarm founders (which also include other genera such as Agelaia and Polybia) make large and elaborate nests, usually inside an envelope.  In certain other paper wasp genera, nests are founded by a queen without the help of workers, and typically the nests are smaller and exposed (Nadkarni and Wheelright, editors, 2000).  Two species of Synoeca are yellowish overall:  S. chalibea and S. virginea.  The other 3 species are bluish to blackish. Wings are dark. Nests house about 200 individuals and are often attached to a leaning tree; if disturbed, the wasps inside making a drumming noise.  As the nest grows, its external surface has transverse corrugations looking like an armadillo’s back, hence these wasps are locally referred to as ‘armadillos’ or ‘cachicamas.'”  According to the National Science Foundation:  “In some areas of South America, the local name for this species is ‘armadillo wasp,’ in reference to the form of the nest. When mildly disturbed, the workers will produce an ominous rhythmic sound by rubbing against the nest paper. In Costa Rica, they are euphemistically called ‘guitar players.’ Upon further disturbance, they are capable of mounting a ferocious attack, and the stings are reputed to be exquisitely painful. The sting apparatus is barbed, and will often embed in the skin of the unlucky nest predator. This wasp is mimicked by many less-dangerous insects, presumably to gain protection from the resemblance.”  We really enjoyed researching your request.

Carton Wasp

Carton Wasp

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Are these bees? Are they dangerous?
Location: Guatemala
March 2, 2016 3:38 pm
Hi,
I have two types of bees (?) in my back patio. One type is big in size and just starting a nest, very slowly (they seem to take forever, it has been the same size for weeks) and I only see like 4 or 5 of them (see picture 1).
The other type are much smaller but they have a much bigger nest (see picture 2).
My question is the ones you see on picture 1, are they dangerous? They look a bit scary.
Thanks!
Signature: Danielle

Paper Wasp Nest

Paper Wasp Nest

Dear Danielle,
Your first image depicts the construction of a Paper Wasp nest, most likely a member of the genus
Polistes.  Like other social wasps, they will defend the nest from an intruder or attacker by stinging, but they are not considered aggressive.  We tried to search species from Guatemala, and we found this image on ABC Wildlife that appears to be the same as your species, but there is no name provided.  Here is a similar nest from our own archives.  Your other nest appears to be a Hornet Nest.

Hornet Nest

Hornet Nest


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Subject: Hornet? Wasp? Mimic? Central FL, mid-Jan.
Location: Palm Bay, FL (Brevard County)
January 29, 2016 3:42 pm
Hello,
We live in east central Florida, and this beautiful insect was in our hibiscus plant recently (January, temps in upper 60’s). I have looked for hours and can’t identify it… the reddish colors and pattern don’t quite match any of the hornets, yellowjackets, wasps, or moths I’ve been able to find online. I wouldn’t be surprised if it is actually a wasp mimicking moth. It certainly wasn’t aggressive at all. Any thoughts on what this is?
Thanks,
Signature: Mike W.

Paper Wasp

Paper Wasp

Dear Mike,
We believe this is a Paper Wasp in the genus
Polistes, and it is most likely a light colored Polistes major like this individual from Georgia that is pictured on BugGuide.  We will check with Eric Eaton and get his opinion.

Paper Wasp

Paper Wasp

Eric Eaton Confirms ID.
Hi, Daniel:
Wow, great images!  Yes, this is a male Polistes major.  Male specimens of many Polistes appear paler in some cases than the female.  I also think these images were taken in very harsh light, which washes out the color on most insects.
Cheers,
Eric

Thank you! I have to agree that this seems to match my photos almost perfectly. The fact it’s an invasive species would certainly help explain why I had such a hard time figuring it out. But as long as it’s here, at least it’s attractive to look at! 🙂
Thanks again,
Mike

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Wasps or Hornets in winter
Location: Connecticut
January 28, 2016 7:58 am
A couple days ago, I was walking in my front yard and I saw a wasp/hornet/yellow jacket walking on top of the snow…
I live in central Connecticut, so it seemed a bit odd because I’ve never seen that before in my 44 years here.
Is this normal?
Thanks,
Signature: Michael

Paper Wasp in the Snow

European Paper Wasp in the Snow

Dear Michael,
We suspect this unusual sighting of a Paper Wasp in the genus
Polistes in the snow is related to the unseasonably warm weather experienced by much of the eastern U.S. through the end of 2015.  We are relatively certain this is an introduced European Paper Wasp, Polistes dominula, which is described on BugGuide as:  “No other species of Vespidae has mostly orange antennae.”  Because of the snow, your images were underexposed, but if the images are lightened, the antennae do appear to be orange.  BugGuide also notes:  “Only females are able to overwinter. Some ‘workers’ of previous season are able to survive and act as auxiliary females for the foundresses, provided the quiescent phase has been short enough. ”  You did not indicate what the temperatures were like on the day you took the images, but we are suspecting it was a warmer day, with temperatures above freezing, despite snow still being on the ground.  If the late start to winter allowed the nest to remain active considerably later in the season, and this individual survived a short “quiescent phase”, then it is possible she set out from the nest on a warm winter day.  BugGuide also notes:  “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,” which is prompting us to tag this as an Invasive Exotic, especially since the BugGuide range in quite extensive in North America considering the species has been reported here for less than 40 years.

Paper Wasp in the Snow

European Paper Wasp in the Snow

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Hairy wasp
Location: Gulf Shores, AL
January 28, 2016 7:59 am
We found this wasp under some lantana while we were weeding the garden. It was already dead and laying in the leaf litter. It appears to have long “hairs” that grew all over its body. Can you tell us what kind of wasp this is?
Found is Gulf Shores, AL. on 1/28/16
Signature: Gulf State Park

Paper Wasp covered in Fungus

Paper Wasp covered in Fungus

This is a Paper Wasp and it is being “devoured” by Fungus.  Many living insects are attacked by Fungus and they eventually die.  Dead insects in damp locations might also be broken down by Fungus.  This BugGuide image identifies the Cordyceps fungus.

Thank you so much for the quick reply. I thought it was just a normal paper wasp, but I had never seen anything quite like that! I thought that it maybe had roots growing out of it.  Thank you again!
Thanks,
Kelly

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination