Friday, September 30, 2022

It's Wasp Season

European Paper Wasp (Polistes dominula

European Paper Wasp (Polistes dominula

European Paper Wasp (Polistes dominula) ♂

So why have I posted three different individuals of the same species?
  1. They are beautiful.
  2. They look like yellowjackets, but they aren't.
  3. They are the only wasp in North America that has orange antennae.
  4. Their eyes! Please click on the photos to see them full size and see those eyes.
  5. They feed caterpillars to their babies .
  6. Adults sip nectar.
  7. They are all male! We can't figure out why. Male wasps curve their antennae. The last wasp antennae may look straight, but he was feeling his way through the ground litter and straightened them for a second when I shot it. We could not find a female wasp! I suspect it has something to do with the season. 
These photos were from last Sunday at Jody's gardens. Jody has discovered a love of wasps and she doesn't even know why! We had three missions on that day: find bees, either social or solitary; find syrphid (flower) flies; and find as many species of yellowjackets as possible. We found 3 species of bees (one bumble, one digger, and one small carpenter), one odd individual syrphid, only one species of yellowjacket, and like a million wasps.

This is wasp season. They are, literally, starving because their food sources are almost gone so they are aggressively looking for any last bits of food they can find.

If you want to learn more about wasps, I suggest Eric Eaton's blog, Bug Eric. He won't remember, but he has helped me many times with identifications and by answering questions. He is curator of the Facebook group Wasp Friends, and has just published another book, Wasps: The Astonishing Diversity of a Misunderstood Insect. His book, Insectpedia: A Brief Compendium of Insect Lore, is lots of fun.

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Saturday's Critters at
Viewing Nature with Eileen



  1. They are pretty. I bet they have a nasty sting. :0

  2. I was yesterday on the Floriade in Almere the Netherlands and encountered a lot of wasps and bees but I must admit that there were a lot of plants special to attract them and with great succes.

  3. It's interesting that these are our common European Wasp. I didn't know it occured in North America and I can't imagine it was introduced? It's time for me to Google. By the way, I don't hate wasps like many people do.


  5. You're right, Phil. I didn't go into that because so many species now are introduced. But it was first seen in 1978. Eaton, in the last link of this post, has a paragraph on the topic but I can't quote it because copying is not allowed. It is now very widespread over North America. There was concern that it would decimate our butterfly and moth populations. That doesn't seem to have happened. At least not by this wasp.

  6. Great photos and info about wasps ~ Xo

    Wishing you good health, laughter and love in your days,

    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  7. Beautiful captures of the wasps. Thanks for sharing the info about them. Enjoy the new month!

  8. I avoid them since they look rather dangerous compared to a bee. I will have to look more closely the next time I see one.

  9. I don't like them...they seem to come after me but most of the time they stay out among the flowers and grasses. Beautiful photos!

  10. I'm very wary of these guys when they show up over Summer, luckily I haven't been stung by one for a few years.

  11. Those are wonderful photos, I've never seen any up close, on purpose!

  12. Hello, :=) I don't mind wasps at all. If I don't bother them, they don't bother me. I can happily garden amongst them and they pay me no mind. Your photos are lovely, and the facts about them are much appreciated.
    It's curious that you only saw males. Thank you for your comment and a new ID.
    All the best.

  13. They are beautiful, but i have to avoid getting too close to anything that stings as i swell up horribly and have to get on steroids that make me cranky and hungry.

  14. I know Eric Eaton and highly recommend him. As you have indicated he is a very obliging fellow. I reviewed both of the books you mention. Our nights here are getting down to barely above freezing so soon there will be no wasps to see until spring.

  15. nice shots of the wasps. I find them hard to get good shots of :)

  16. Hello Andree,
    Lovely flowers and great captures of the wasps. I have been stung and try my hardest to keep my distance from the wasps. Great photos. Sorry, I am late visiting. I was away for a week. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, have a happy new week ! PS, thanks for leaving me a comment.


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