Tag Archives: northern paper wasp

northern paper wasp (Polistes fuscatus)

northern paper wasp

Photo by Bill Reynolds

Northern paper wasp (Polistes fuscatus) is a common and widespread, medium-sized, predatory, social wasp. It is found in woodlands and savannas and around wood structures built by humans. Adults feed exclusively on plant nectar produced by flowers and glands (nectaries). Larva are fed caterpillars and other insects captured and softened by workers. The liquids of the softened (malaxated) insects are fed to the youngest larvae, the solids to the older larvae.

The uncovered nests are often built by two or more queens. In these nests one queen is always dominant. She will eat the eggs laid by the other queen(s). After the nest is built the non-dominant queens may be driven off or become workers.

This species is identified by extremely short hairs of the head and abdomen; by the antennae that are orangish-yellow below, black above; and by the first abdominal segment that is wider than long, not stalk-like, and is gently rounded in profile.