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. Alone and far from the nest, solo Red Paper Wasps are not typically aggressive, but they do sting if threatened. There is one species, called the Fine-backed Red Paper Wasp (P. carolina), which is likely to exhibit aggression when approached, akin to behavior seen in Yellowjackets, even when far from its nest. A more docile species called the Coarse-backed Red Paper Wasp (P. rubiginosus) looks nearly the same, but it is recommended to treat all Red Paper Wasps with caution until one can instantly tell them apart from a distance.
Nests are built using saliva and vegetation. These gray, papier mâché 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.
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* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Red Paper Wasp may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Red Paper Wasp. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.