Paper Wasps

I spotted my first Common Aerial Yellowjacket last year. This year, an INaturalist observation led me to the first nest I’ve seen.
Dolichovespula arenaria build paper nests that look quite similar to that of Bald-faced Hornets (D. maculata), which are much more common here in Brooklyn.
With a life-span of three to four months, these wasps hunt all sorts of insects and spiders. They help farmers by preying on agricultural-pest species.
Were humans inspired by wasps to make paper?
Below the nest, one who didn’t make it. Except for reproductive females, the whole community dies off with the season. The queens dig in somewhere to over-winter. This nest won’t be used again, although other creatures may well inhabit it.

4 Responses to “Paper Wasps”


  1. 1 Evva Koperek August 26, 2021 at 1:44 pm

    That nest is a stunning work of art, so beautiful! Paper wasps are pretty common here and they are very good at scanning plants for caterpillars and such! I wonder if you see Chinese mantises a lot – in our yard there’s tons of them now, and they got huge and fat over the course of summer. I was on the fence with them for a long time, but now when I see one, I want to feed it to the fish in Sheepshead Bay.

    • 2 mthew August 26, 2021 at 2:41 pm

      I’m all for getting rid of them. Especially be on the lookout for their oothecae, or egg cases, during the winter. Destroying these is a great way to reduce the population. This biologist’s blog is good the IDing the egg cases of the various species; Tenodera sinensis is distinctive https://colinpurrington.com/2019/03/identifying-mantid-egg-cases-pennsylvania/

      • 3 Evva Koperek August 27, 2021 at 10:17 pm

        Thank you for the encouragement, I’m dispatching them promptly now, whenever I see one – no more relocations! I will be on the lookout for egg cases. It’s impressing how well they can blend in: they are easiest to spot while devouring something beautiful.

  2. 4 Monica M August 27, 2021 at 7:13 pm

    The Wasps have a beautiful Art Deco look. The nest looks like a wind-swept sand sculpture.


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