European Paper Wasp
( Polistes dominula )


2013-0505-01100112-HYM00330-Polistes_dominula[1246h18s,F,A,wood-foraging]{EXD}-G.jpg

PHOTO COMMENT

IDENTIFICATION
Identification:Polistes dominula
(Christ ,1791 )
Common Name:European Paper Wasp
Life Stage:(A) adult

PHYLOGENY

Phylum:Arthropoda
Class:Insecta
Superorder:Holometabola
Order:Hymenoptera
Suborder:Apocrita
Family:Vespidae
Subfamily:Polistinae
Genus:Polistes
Taxon Code:HYM00330

LOCATION DETAILS
Location Name
Gardens at Lake Merritt, Lakeside Park, 666 Bellevue, Oakland
County:Alameda County
ECI Site#:CA01100110

RECOGNITION
Description
No other species of Vespidae has mostly orange antennae. The European paper wasp is a generally black insect marked with yellow. They are fairly slender-bodied insects with a distinct constriction of the body between the thorax and abdomen. The European paper wasp is superficially similar to and commonly mistaken for various yellowjackets (Vespula spp.).
Body Length
25 mm.

BIOLOGY
Food
Adults feed larvae chewed-up pieces of caterpillars and other arthropods. The adults, like other paper wasps, feed on nectar from flowers and other sugary liquids.
Importance
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. This phenomenon is occurring in the San Francisco Bay Area. European paper wasps do not produce nuisance problems around outdoor dining however they can sting. European paper wasps have become one of the most important natural controls of many kinds of yard and garden insects. The European paper wasp is a social insect that produces an annual colony in a paper nest. Individual colonies are established anew each spring.
Range
Occurs throughout Eurasia; continues to expand North American range which is currently (2006) known to include northeastern US, Florida, Ontario, British Columbia, Washington to California and east to Colorado
Distribution
Occurs throughout Eurasia; continues to expand North American range which is currently (2006) known to include northeastern US, Florida, Ontario, British Columbia, Washington to California and east to Colorado
Development
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.

CREDITS
Photographer
Eddie Dunbar
Insect Sciences Museum of California

References
Species Polistes dominula - European Paper Wasp. (http://bugguide.net/node/view/5081). Accessed March 12, 2016. .


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