Paper Wasp composes its elegant glossy body on pink Powderpuff

Paper wasps will defend themselves if disturbed... as I know all too well! In my environmental zeal, a few months ago I picked a discarded bag in the woods where I walk and discovered all too soon ( and too painfully) that it had a Chinese honey sauce packet inside it... and a swarm of Wasps that attacked and stung me repeatedly!

Paper wasps are 3⁄4 to 1 inch long. They gather fibers from dead wood and plant stems, mix them with saliva, and use the resultant gray or brown papery material to construct water-resistant nests. Paper wasps are also sometimes called umbrella wasps due to their nests' distinctive design.

Their nests are constructed in protected places, under the eaves of buildings or in dense vegetation. There are 22 species of paper wasps in North America and about 700 worldwide. Most are found in the tropics of the western hemisphere. Paper wasps are black, brown or reddish in color with yellow markings.

Adults forage for nectar, their source of energy, and for caterpillars to feed their young so they are natural enemies of many garden insect pests.

A widespread North American species is the Golden Paper Wasp. Paper wasps are in the genus Polistes in the family Vespidae, which also includes potter wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets.

Golden Paper Wasp, Polistes fuscatus
Pink Powderpuff, Calliandra surinamensis


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