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Photo#101168
Polistes exclamans for California in April - Polistes exclamans - female

Polistes exclamans for California in April - Polistes exclamans - Female
Fullerton Arboretum, Fullerton, Orange County, California, USA
April 1, 2007

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Polistes exclamans for California in April - Polistes exclamans - female Polistes exclamans for California in April - Polistes exclamans - female Polistes exclamans for California in April - Polistes exclamans - female

Interesting!
she appears to be collecting material for her nest from the leaf.

 
These leaves are very popular, but I've never seen them eaten.
Flies, damselflies and lady bugs are often there. The wasp, while common throughout the Arboretum, isn't a frequent visitor. I appreciate your evaluation of what she's doing and hadn't really thought about it myself. The plant is very silky, so it likely has loose fibers.

 
You're lucky!
You're lucky if you get to see Polistes that are not dominulas! I've seen over two dozen wasp species here in the bay area but in Polistes there has only been dominula. I briefly thought I had encountered P. aurifer but it turned out to be the fairly similar looking Mischocyttarus flavitarsis. I know P. aurifer has been found in the bay area by others, but not P. exclamans, or any other exotic southern california species, hence my frustration.

I am curious. Here P. dominula is nearly as common as honey bees are. Other than winter I see them every time I go outside. Is it the same down further south?

 
Polistes exclamans is the common one here, Mac
But apparently not as common as P. dominula is in your area. Most of the P. exclamans I see are at this arboretum. All around, the most common wasp here is the Western Yellowjacket, and there have been a ton of them this year.

 
Interesting! And a very different situation from the ...
Interesting! And a very different situation from the Bay Area wasp scene! Western yellowjackets are somewhat common, but nothing close in number to P. dominula. They seem more common in less developed areas than they are in populated neighborhoods. In my neighborhood I see more Yellow and Black Mud Daubers, Cerceri, Ancistrocerus, and Pompilidae than Yellowjackets, though the latter two are good at avoiding the camera.

The paper wasps are so common, on several occasions I have found them starting nests under the trunk lid and door jams of my car. There are currently one or two nests in our car port, and they are not happy that the metal rails of the outside stairs have had their ends plugged so that cannot build nests inside there!

These wasps have been exhibiting behavior that I don't quite understand. It almost seems as though, Some of the wasps are actually destroying the nest, and, shudder, eating the young! It also seems like females are lying in wait for males to come out at which time they are fallen upon, none too gently. Since these rather peaceful wasps do not seem at their tranquil best, I am a little wary of them. They fly around my head if I stay watching for long, and I take this as a hint and leave.

I think I'll post one or two photos of this scene and see if this is normal behavior. I hate to post photos of such a common species, but they exhibit a lot of behaviors!

I just posted this one of a carport wasp. Perhaps more to follow.

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