European Paper Wasp

The European Paper Wasp (Polistes dominula) is a hymenopteran insect, a winged insect related to bees, wasps, and hornets. It is a vespid and a polist wasp in the Polistini tribe. It is a social wasp. It is also known as the Common Poet. 

The European Paper Wasp has a slender yellow and black body and long yellowish-orange legs. It drags its legs behind it when it is flying, because its legs are long. Its narrow wings are orange with dark tips. It has large eyes. Its antennae are yellowish-orange with club-shaped tips. 

It has a venomous stinger at the end of its abdomen. It can sting multiple times because the stinger stays in the body (the stinger of bees comes out of the body when the bee stings an animal, so it can only sting once). 

European Paper Wasp

It grows to 1-2 centimetres (less than an inch) Iength. 

It is native to southern Europe, north Africa, and temperate regions of Asia. 

It hibernates in hollow trees in winter.

The European Paper Wasp is a social wasp, and lives in colonies.

It builds an open nest, not covered with a wall. It is made from cellulose from dead wood. It builds its nest in roof areas of homes and buildings or in trees. 

The colony may have several queen wasps, worker wasps, and male wasps. One of the queen wasps – the dominant one – makes a grey-coloured paper nest in a tree hollow or wall cavity. She lays 200-300 eggs each day for 24 days. The eggs hatch after about 5-7 days to produce a colony of 3,000-8,000 larvae (grubs). Worker wasps look after the young larvae until they metamorphose into adult wasps.

The average life span of an adult European Paper Wasp is about 14 days.  

European Paper Wasp
European Paper Wasp

[Location of photographs: Tbilisi, Georgia]

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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