Wasp Week Day 4: European Paper Wasp

Black and yellow wasp with yellow antennae
European paper-wasp, Polistes dominulus

Zebra Mussels, Kudzu, Cane Toads, and European Starlings may get more press; but invasive, exotic species are crowding out native insects too. According to Wikipedia, the European Paper Wasp was first noticed in New Jersey in 1968; but the real damage seems to have been done by an infestation starting in Massachusetts in the late 1970s. It has since spread up and down the East Coast. Exactly how much damage it’s doing to native wasp species is an open question. However, on a recent trip to Jamaica Bay Wildlife refuge it was the only wasp I found, and I saw several colonies set up inside bird feeders. This can’t be good.

Pay special attention to the yellow antennae. This is the easiest way to distinguish it from native species such as the Eastern Yellowjacket.

This colony had set up a nest inside the concrete barrier at the edge of the parking lot:

Wasps at nest in concrete

One Response to “Wasp Week Day 4: European Paper Wasp”

  1. Mokka mit Schlag » Wasp Week Day 6: Northern Paper Wasp Says:

    […] less aggressive and problematic than the invasive European cousins from Day 4. Nonetheless getting too close to a nest would be an incredibly stupid thing to do. Like most […]

Leave a Reply