Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

Species Polistes dominula - European Paper Wasp

Paper Wasp? - Polistes dominula European Paper Wasp Eating Fly - Polistes dominula Swarming flying bees/wasps stung my father-in-law multiple times - Polistes dominula Black/Yellow Wasps on nest - Polistes dominula Wasp, cerceris? - Polistes dominula - male Yellow Jacket? - Polistes dominula - male Polistes dominula European Paper Wasp - Polistes dominula - female
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies)
No Taxon (Aculeata - Ants, Bees and Stinging Wasps)
Superfamily Vespoidea (Yellowjackets and Hornets, Paper Wasps; Potter, Mason and Pollen Wasps and allies)
Family Vespidae (Yellowjackets and Hornets, Paper Wasps; Potter, Mason and Pollen Wasps)
Subfamily Polistinae (Paper Wasps)
Genus Polistes (Umbrella Paper Wasps)
Species dominula (European Paper Wasp)
Explanation of Names
Polistes dominula (Christ 1791)
dominula = 'lady, mistress'
mostly orange antennae diagnostic
Throughout Eurasia (native range); across US and Canada; introduced in the 1980s or earlier.
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.
Life Cycle
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)
often mistaken for a yellow jacket
First reported in North America in 1978 near Boston, MA
Replacing native wasps in some areas (Hammon 2014)
Print References
Internet References
Fact sheet (Jacobs 2015)(4)
Works Cited
1.Garden Insects of North America : The Ultimate Guide to Backyard Bugs (Princeton Field Guides)
Whitney Cranshaw. 2004. Princeton University Press.
2.First detailed report of brood parasitoidism in the invasive population of the paper wasp Polistes dominulus ...
A. A. Madden, M. M. Davis, P. T. Sparks . 2010. Insectes Sociaux 57: 257-260.
3.Identification Atlas of the Vespidae (Hymenoptera, Aculeata) of the Northeastern Nearctic Region
Matthias Buck, Stephen A. Marshall, and David K. B. Cheung. 2008. Biological Survey of Canada [Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification].
4.Penn State Entomology