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Ringed Paper Wasp (Polistes annularis)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Ringed Paper Wasp

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A narrow yellow ring is the only pattern on the black abdomen of the Ringed Paper Wasp.

Updated: 07/09/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The Ringed Paper Wasp has a dark red or burgundy upper body. The abdomen is completely black save for a thin yellow ring that wraps around it near the ?waist?. Antennae are black with yellow-orange tips, and legs also showcase bright yellow coloring. This type of wasp is social, and nests are created by mixing plant pulp with saliva. The result is a grayish-brown papery orb that houses many cells inside for eggs and larvae. Nests may be built in a variety of locations like inside shrubs, on the eaves of homes, and inside outbuildings like sheds or barns. The wasps defend their nests, first by turning their collective gazes at an approaching threat. That signal should deter people from getting any closer since the wasps can sting, repeatedly. If a nest is built in an inconvenient location, a professional exterminator can safely remove it.

General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Hymenoptera
        Family: Vespidae
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          Genus: Polistes
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            Species: annularis
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Polistes annularis
Category: Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
Size (Adult; Length): 17mm to 24mm (0.66" to 0.94")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: red; black; yellow; orange
Descriptors: orange; red; dark red; maroon; burgundy; black abdomen; yellow ring on black body; yellow antennae tips; yellow legs; wasp; stinging; flying; black wings

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 17mm (0.7in) and 24mm (0.9in)
Lo: 17mm
Md: 20.5mm
Hi: 24mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Ringed 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 Ringed Paper Wasp. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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