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W*H*Y Wednesday: Yet another Paper Wasp

This Wednesday's featured insect is yet another Paper Wasp species: Polistes metricus.

Metricus_paperwasp_small This wasp's appearance is a deep reddish-brown with black lines on the thorax, a darker brownish-black on the abdomen, and golden legs. Females have a reddish-brown face, while males have a golden yellow face.

Paper Wasp Habits: P. metricus workers can be seen foraging for protein -- most often caterpillars -- to feed nest larvae. In addition to protein, Paper Wasps will seek nectar and other sweet liquids for their own sustenance.

Habitat: P. metricus Paper Wasps are found in the highlighted area of the map below:


Paper Wasp Nests: Known to nest in both exposed and sheltered settings, P. metricus Paper Wasp nests are usually found under roof eaves and inside shrubs and trees. Like most species of Paper Wasps, P. metricus creates a nest in the shape of an upside-down umbrella with exposed octagonal brood cells.   

Nature toward humans: Unless disturbed or agitated, P. metricus Paper Wasps will not exhibit aggressive behavior toward humans. However, caution should be used around nest sites.

On a personal note, I think this is the type of wasp that flew in my ear when I was 7 -- a terrifying episode in my young life. I remember that its coloration was dark brown, and I lived in a location (Pennsylvania) where these wasps were found. The wasp never did sting me... it just hung out in my ear canal long enough that we had to go to the hospital, where they simply flushed it out with water.

October 22, 2008 in Entomology, Science, Wasps, WHY Trap | Permalink


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Yes, these little brainstormers with their pointed little heads know the political boundaries of Montana like the back of their -(?). We live very close to the western state line and they definitely feel right at home here.

Posted by: Laraine | Feb 22, 2009 5:16:46 PM

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