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W*H*Y Wednesday: The Red Wasp, Part 2

Yes, we missed our post yesterday and it's actually Thursday, but we like alliteration here at the BugBlog.

Today's featured insect is the second of two Red Wasps caught in the W*H*Y Trap for Wasps, Hornets & Yellowjackets: Polistes perplexus.

Perplexus_Red Wasp Like the P. carolina Red Wasp, P. Perplexus is known for its overall ferruginous (rusty red) coloration, but with more black markings on the thorax. At nearly 1 inch in length, it's large in comparison to other Paper Wasps.

As for where P. perplexus is found, I can't resist linking it to the recent election. This Red Wasp is found in many of the Southeastern "Red" states that John McCain won... plus the surrounding "Blue" states of Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Illinois... okay, so it's not a perfect analogy. Here's the map with the highlighted Red Wasp states:


Habits: Red Wasp adult workers will feed on sugary nectar and collect live prey to feed nest larvae. Caterpillars appear to be a preferred food source. Red wasps have also been known to attack cicadas.

Red Wasp nests: Red Wasps create nests from chewed-up wood and live plant fibers. Their nests are large compared to other Paper Wasps, resembling an upside-down umbrella with exposed octagonal cells. P. perplexus is more likely to nest in sheltered natural settings such as hollow trees and wooden structures. These Red Wasps are also known to build nests inside warehouses.

Nature toward humans: Like many Paper Wasp species, Red Wasps are typically docile, but will become aggressive when provoked or when the nest is disturbed. Anecdotal evidence suggests that Red Wasp stings feel more painful than stings from other Paper Wasp species.

WHYTR_200dpi Good news for people in Red Wasp country: The forthcoming W*H*Y Trap for Wasps, Hornets & Yellowjackets from RESCUE! will catch these wasps!

November 6, 2008 in Entomology, Science, Wasps, WHY Trap | Permalink


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I had no success in catching red wasps with the why trap,I followed the directions and I have many flying around, none in trap.

Posted by: tim lewis | Apr 26, 2009 7:18:43 AM

Tim, thank you for trying our WHY Trap and leaving a comment here. We do catch two types of red wasps along with 5 other paper wasp species. There are a few wasp species that we have not caught in our testing – one being the Apache wasp.

Answering few questions would help us troubleshoot your problem: In what part of the country are you located? What have your daytime temperatures been? Where are you observing these wasps? Are they completely red in color?

If you have not done so already, try moving the trap to a different location – preferably one that gets a good amount of sun. If that still doesn’t work, please let us know and we’ll try to offer more assistance.

Posted by: Stephanie | Apr 27, 2009 5:17:04 PM

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