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 Paper wasp (Polistes metricus)

Paper wasp | Polistes metricus photo
Paper Wasp (Polistes metricus) caught in Portage, Michigan, USA
Photograph by Cody Hough, college student and photographer in the Michgian area. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

Polistes metricus is a dark reddish brown paper wasp from eastern North America. The thorax has some black lines and the abdomen is dark brown or black. The legs are yellow. Males have a yellow face and females have a red brown face. The nest is an inverted umbrella shape hanging from a stalk, and usually built in a sheltered place such as under eaves or in trees or shrub. the wasp is not aggressive towards people, but they will sting if nest is disturbed. The females are similar to some of the reddish forms of Polistes fuscatus.

Other Names
Northern Paper Wasp, Metric Paper Wasp

about 20mm

various habitats including around shrubs, trees and building structures

preys on caterpillars to feed larvae, adults also feed on nectar.

The colony may be started by a single female wasp or a group of females. The nest may grow to have up to four hundred hexagonal cells. An egg is laid in each cell, and when the egg hatches the grub like larvae is fed on caterpillar by the adult wasps. When the larvae is mature it pupates, emerging as an adult wasp.

The range of Polistes metricus is roughly from Nebraska to New York and Maine in the north and southwards to the Gulf of Mexico from Texas through to Florida. It is also found in Ontario in Canada.

Common Name:Paper wasp

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

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