Paper Wasp

Polistes apachus (?)

Polistes apachus photo © by Mike Plagens

Image taken in Phoenix, Maricopa Co., Summer, 2002.

Vespidae -- Yellow Jacket, Hornet and Paper Wasp Family

Polistes paper wasps build their nests of paper from wood fibers chewed and mixed with water and saliva. In the hot, Sonoran Desert summer, the water they require often comes from the surface of swimming pools where the wasps can usually land with graceful impunity upon the water surface. Besides paper making, the collected water is often used for cooling the nest.

Polistes paper wasps are avid flower visitors where they take nectar to fuel their hunting escapades. They hunt a wide variety of insects such as caterpillars that they return to their nest in a chewed up form to feed to developing larvae within the cells of the paper nests.

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 6 Nov. 2007