European Paper Wasp

Scientific name: 
Polistes dominula
Size: 
14mm (body length)
Where found: 
On aerial nest (6 feet high) inside chicken coop enclosure

These paper wasps are relatively new to California. They typically construct uncovered, aerial nests (with populations reportedly reaching up to 200 workers), but unlike our native paper wasps, they will also readily nest within cavities. Recently at District headquarters, a nest that was constructed within a hollow gate was accidentally disturbed and the wasps stung two people. Despite their willingness to defend their nests, if left undisturbed, these wasps may be considered beneficial because they hunt for and consume large numbers of other insects. The Marin/Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control District does not eliminate European Paper Wasp nests, so homeowners may choose to contract with a private pest control company for that service.   

Bug Blog home

She might look like a yellowjacket, but she's not