Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Polistes dominula (Christ)
Explanation of Names
Female ruler, lady, mistress:
From Latin dominus- "lord, ruler, master" (related English words: dominion, domain, dominate) + the diminutive suffix -ul- which adds the meaning "little", and a feminine ending.
Until recently treated as an adjective describing the masculine noun "Polistes", but now is recognized as a feminine noun standing on its own. The first requires the masculine form dominulus, while the second keeps the original feminine form dominula.
No other species of Vespidae has mostly orange antennae.
Occurs throughout Eurasia; continues to expand North American range which is currently (2006) known to include northeastern US, Florida, Ontario, British Columbia, Washington to California and east to Colorado. The entire US and Canada (2016)
Larvae are fed chewed-up pieces of caterpillars and other insects caught by adults. The adults, like other paper wasps, feed on nectar from flowers and other sugary liquids.
Only females are able to overwinter. Some "workers" of previous season are able to survive and act as auxiliary females for the foundresses, provided the quiescent phase has been short enough. (Comment by Richard Vernier)
An introduced species from Eurasia, often mistaken for a yellow jacket. First reported in North America by G.C. Eickwort in 1978 near Boston, Massachusetts.
There are reports of it replacing native species of wasps in some areas (Bob Hammon, Colorado State U.
Cranshaw, pp. 556-557 (1)
Madden, A. A., M. M. Davis, & P. T. Sparks 2010. First detailed report of brood parasitoidism in the invasive population of the paper wasp Polistes dominulus
(Hymenoptera, Vespidae) in North America. Insectes Sociaux 57: 257-260. (2)
occurrence in Michigan
(Zachary Huang, Michigan State U.)
first record in British Columbia
and citation of first North American report by G.C. Eickwort in 1978 (Entomological Society of British Columbia)
arrival in Ontario
account of spread across North America
[but the "first report" date of 1981 near Boston is an error: G.C. Eickwort's report was published in 1978] (Chip Taylor, butterflywebsite.com)