Red Paper Wasp (Polistes spp.)
Detailing the identifying qualities of the Red Paper Wasp, including physical features and territorial reach.
Updated: 1/10/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Red with black wings, Red Paper Wasps meander around shrubs, flowers, hose wranglers, and patio furniture looking for places to call home.
The name Red Paper Wasp is represented by a couple of species in this genus. All have orange-red bodies and jet black wings. They lazily fly at low levels, occasionally landing on people, pets and objects before flying off again, sometimes without being noticed. Red Paper Wasps are not aggressive, but they do sting if threatened.
Nests are built using saliva and vegetation. These gray papier mache homes are attached to a variety of objects including bushes, shed and home eaves, and outdoor storage containers for water hoses and patio cushions. They start out small, but grow quickly and contain chambers for eggs and pupae that are guarded by caretakers. Activity by adults in a particular area is a good sign that a nest has been established nearby.
Red Paper Wasps are great predators of caterpillars in order to feed their larvae. This makes them biological controls that help contain the chewing damage that many species of caterpillars cause on crops. Adults drink nectar from flowers and help pollinate them. Red Paper Wasps are comfortable in a variety environments from wild to urban/suburban.