Northern Paper Wasp

Subject:  Flying insect – Wasp?
Geographic location of the bug:  Richmond VA
Date: 11/01/2018
Time: 02:39 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi, I keep finding these flying insects in my house.  I am concerned if they are dangerous as my cats like to chase them around the house.  I am not sure where they are coming from but would like to know more about them.
How you want your letter signed:  Martin

Northern Paper Wasp

Dear Martin,
This is a Northern Paper Wasp,
Polistes fuscatus, and it is an especially dark individual, much like this BugGuide image.  According to BugGuide:  “Hypervariable in color and pattern” and “Nests in woodlands and savannas. It is fairly common around human habitations, especially where exposed wood is present and can be used for nest material.”  BugGuide also indicates:  “Lifespan is approximately one year, or the time it takes a queen to develop and to mate. Larvae from eggs that are laid during the summer are well fed because of abundant food, and are capable of becoming queens. These eggs hatch before fall and the resulting offspring hibernate during fall and winter. The new queens emerge in the spring to begin nests and lay eggs.”  That causes us to speculate that perhaps the individuals you are finding are queens that are seeking shelter indoors to hibernate due to the approaching cold weather.

Photo of author


BugMan aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

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