W*H*Y Wednesday: We catch another wasp!

Just when we thought we knew the 20 species caught in the W*H*Y Trap for Wasps, Hornets & Yellowjackets, we learned this week that we catch another species of Paper Wasp -- bringing the total wasp species to 7 and the entire species count to 21!

Thanks to some data gained in testing in the southern U.S., we've determined that our trap catches Polistes exclamans, also known as the Common Paper Wasp.

This species is 5/8 inches long and displays extensive red coloration on the head, thorax and abdomen. The abdomen has bands of red, black and yellow and one large red and black band toward the top. Queens and female workers have a predominantly red thorax, while males are mostly black. Antenna will be red with a prominent black midsection.

Common Paper Wasps hunt caterpillars to feed nest larvae and feed on sugars and flower nectar.  Workers will rest on the nest at night and during periods of cooler weather.

Common Paper Wasps are not typically aggressive, but will sting if provoked or if they feel their nest is threatened.  Males also exhibit territorial behavior, which is unusual for Paper Wasp species.

The Common Paper Wasp is found in Texas, Oklahoma and Florida; as far north as New Jersey, Indiana and Illinois; and west to Nebraska and Colorado. It is considered an introduced (non-native) species in southern California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Hawaii.

Common Paper Wasp nests resemble the upside-down umbrella shape and open-honeycomb design of other paper wasp species, and are usually found in sheltered locations near human activity-- most  commonly in roof eaves and trees.

Good news if you have this species in your back yard: The W*H*Y Trap from RESCUE! will catch the Common Paper Wasp!