Paper Wasps – genus Polistes

Paper wasps are an significant pollinator of our Oklahoma flowers and important biological control agent. The adults feed on nectar, but you may see them chewing holes in plants or gathering fibers from wood. They are gathering the material to build their “paper” nests. Paper wasps are social insects and the nest can hold a few dozen workers. In the early spring a solitary queen emerges from hibernation and builds a small nest, raising the first generation of workers solo. This generation matures into workers who will collect food for the colony. The queen focuses on laying eggs. The works eat nectar, but collect caterpillars and other soft animals to feed the larvae. As summer concludes, new queens emerge from the nest to mate with males. After mating, the new queens will hibernate underground for the winter. The nest is abandoned as all the workers, males, and old queen do not overwinter.


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