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 Red Wasp (Polistes carolina)

Red Wasp | Polistes carolina photo
Polistes carolina, Shawnee National Forest, Garden of the Gods, South Illinois, USA
Photograph by Fritz Geller-Grimm. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

The Red Wasp (Polistes carolina) as its name suggests is a reddish brown wasp. The head and body are mostly reddish brown with some indistinct browner banding on the abdomen. It is very similar to Polistes perplexus which is the only other red wasp in eastern United States. P. perplexus has more black markings on the thorax than P. carolina. The nest is like an inverted saucer hanging downwards and usually built in open areas such as under building roofs. It is made from chewed up wood and live plant fibre, and can contain up to two hundred cells. Red wasps are not aggressive normally, but become aggressive and can give painful stings when the nest is disturbed.

about 25mm

found in woodland, residential areas, and commercial building structures.

Adult wasps feed on nectar. Larvae are fed on caterpillar brought to the nest by adult wasps.

a solitary queen wasp starts building the nest, which is made up of 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 caterpillars until they are ready to pupate. The next generation of adult wasps emerge from the pupae.

Polistes carolina is found in the eastern United States from Nebraska to Texas in the west to the Atlantic coast from New York to Florida.

Common Name:Red Wasp

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

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