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 European Paper Wasp (Polistes dominula)

European Paper Wasp | Polistes dominula photo
female paper wasp (Polistes dominula)
Photograph by Alvesgaspar. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

European Paper Wasp | Polistes dominula photo
Male Polistes dominula wasp
Photograph by Rosenzweig. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

European Paper Wasp | Polistes dominula photo
Nest of European Paper Wasp, San Jose, California, USA.
Photograph by Eugene Zelenko. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

The European Paper Wasp is a black and yellow striped wasp with distinctive orange antennae. This invasive pest species is different to native north American species, and is sometimes confused with the German Yellowjacket (Vespula germanica), but there are a number of significant differences between the species: The European Paper Wasp has a more slender body and longer hind legs which trail behind it in flight; European Paper Wasps fly fairly slowly while German Yellowjackets fly swiftly; German Yellowjackets have black antennae while European Paper Wasps have orange antennae with black base. European Paper Wasps are not aggressive towards people unless them come close to or disturb their nest. The nest is made of paper from chewed plant fibre and wood, usually hanging downwards with open cells on the bottom. The nests are often built under eaves or in outbuildings

Other Names
Polistes dominulus

length 15mm

common around habitation where they nest on manmade structures such as roof eaves, sheds, decks etc.

feeds mainly on nectar and fruit. They prey on insects especially caterpillars, and feed chewed up insect material to their larvae

The nest is started by a solitary queen wasp that has survived the winter by hibernating. The nest has a single layer of hexagonal cells. The female lays an egg in each cell of the nest. The eggs eventually hatch into larvae which are fed on chewed insect food by the adults, until they are ready to pupate. The next generation of adult wasps emerge from the pupae.

The European Paper Wasp is found in north east United States from Illinois to Minnesota and east to the Atlantic from the Carolinas to the Canada border. It is found in Florida, and also in the west of the United States from New Mexico to Idaho and west to the Pacific. It is found in Canada.

Common Name:European Paper Wasp

Relatives in same Genus
  Red Paper Wasp (P. annularis)
  Paper wasp (P. apachus)
  Golden paper wasp (P. aurifer)
  Red Wasp (P. carolina)
  Common paper wasp (P. exclamans)
  Northern paper wasp (P. fuscatus)
  Paper wasp (P. metricus)
  Red-brown paper wasp (P. olivaceus)

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