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Photo#371515
A Male in the Nest - Polistes dominula - male

A Male in the Nest - Polistes dominula - Male
Sunnyvale, Santa Clara County, California, USA
September 6, 2008
Taken 09-06-08 of a Polistes dominula nest. I realized when I saw a male in the nest that I did not really know what it was doing there. I had assumed that the Females do all of the work maintaining the nest. What do the males do?

Moved
Moved from ID Request.

Males participate in cooling off the nest
By "fanning" just like the female members of the colony do, in order to avoid overheating. To what extant this is a purely selfish action or not (they too suffer from the heat) is debatable. Anyway, they never go outside to carry back water to the nest.
I can only second Vespula vulgaris: this photograph is simply fantastic.

 
Thanks for your comments!
I was hesitant to post this because P. Dominula is so well represented in the guide, but now I am glad that I did!

Also interesting, I thought was that this nest was located on a fence just a few feet away from where there was an area where Bembix Wasps were provisioning their burrowed nest cells. There were also Astatinae wasps, Cuckoo Wasps, Satellite Flies, and many others all in this same area. The Bembix and the others were back the following year, hopefully they will be back again this year!

Beautiful photo!!!
That's a wonderful shot

Males are reared in the nest during the end of the cycle. They don't do anything for the colony, and once they are strong enough to leave, they take off to find a mate. Although during their stay at the nest they may occasionally help feed the larvae, but that's about it
http://bugguide.net/node/view/296702/bgimage

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