Polistes annularis


Mainly across eastern US from New York to Florida and west to South Dakota and Texas . This paper wasp prefers to build its nest under overhangs near water.  Its nests tend to be much larger than other Polistes.

It consumes both nectar and insects.

Predators are ants, primarily, but also birds and raccoons are predators.

All female members of this species can develop the capacity for reproduction, although it has a caste system with a dominant queen bee.  The colony has more females than males.   It can remain active during the winter months, storing honey as a food source.

The first generation of offspring in a new nest are female worker bees.  Appearance of males vary.  Female workers may develop reproductive capacity, but these seem to be results of ambient conditions and need of the colony.

Within a nest there is a hierarchy of function

To make these nests, to quote Professor Henry R. Hermann’s  blog, “…adult wasps position themselves with their head down (body oriented vertically to the ground) on a source of wood.  They use their mandibles to scrape the wood.  As it is scraped, saliva is added, and eventually the collected material takes the form of a round, moist ball of wood pulp which the wasp takes back to its nest.  It applies this material gradually to form the walls of paper cells, using their antennae as guides, in placing the pulp.”

These wasps like to build their nests on overhanging branches low to the water.  They sting.