The paper wasp is one which almost all of us have seen during the summer. He is about an inch in length, and very industrious. He is busy eating garden pests, caterpillars, insects, fruits, pollen, and nectar. There are those who will tell you he does not eat other insects. Perhaps that is true, but some do eat caterpillars. In general, he won’t bother you unless he feels threatened. In that case he has a terrific sting for his size. Some individuals, who have been stung by him, go into anaphylactic shock. That can be a dangerous and life threatening situation.
His nest is built by mixing his saliva with fibers from dead wood and plant stems. While they are water resistant, he will place the nest under eaves, around doorways and windows where they are protected. The nest usually extends downward on a petiole, or single stem, from which the nest is then formed. The nest can reach six to eight inches across, and consists of cells to hold the larvae and food for them. When the larvae are ready to pupate, they cover their cells with a silk-like substance for this process to occur.
Only fertilized females can survive the winter months. When they emerge in the spring, they are ready to build nests and start the life cycle all over again.
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