Paper wasps are a species of social wasps that are found around the world. They build paper-like nests in sheltered areas, such as under eaves or in hollow trees. Paper wasps play an important role in the environment by helping to control pest populations. They feed on insects, including caterpillars and flies, which helps keep these pests away from crops and gardens. In addition to this beneficial role, paper wasps also provide food for birds and other animals that feed on them.
Any member of the genus Polistes, or paper wasp, is a remarkable species of wasp in the family Vespidae (order Hymenoptera), measuring about 16 mm (0.63 inches) in length and with orange antennae, wings, and tarsi. The body could be completely black or brown with segmented patches and thin yellow stripes. Paper wasps have a distinct appearance, with long legs and slender bodies.
Individual eggs are placed in cells, where they hatch into legless larvae that go through numerous developmental stages (called instars) before becoming pupae. Compartments are open until pupating larvae. The nest is built, the young are fed, and sterile worker wasps protect the nest. 20 to 30 adults can be found in a mature paper wasp nest.
The colony rapidly starts to collapse as the queens stop laying eggs in the late summer. Female queen progeny who have been mated look for wintering grounds in the fall. The remaining members of the colony perish throughout the winter.
Habit or Behaviour
Paper wasps have developed an exciting method of laying their eggs that is both effective and efficient. By using this method, they can ensure that their young will survive and thrive in the environment around them. When colonies reach maturity later in the summer, they are drawn to sweet foods and become more of a nuisance. Initially, they feed on insects like caterpillars and dangerous flies. They can sting if provoked and will sting repeatedly; symptoms range from edema to potentially fatal anaphylactic reactions.
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