Polistes exclamans – The Common Paper Wasp

The natural world is filled with a diverse range of insects, each playing a unique role in maintaining ecological balance. Among these fascinating creatures exist Polistes exclamans, commonly known as the Common Paper Wasp. This article will explore some of the remarkable characteristics and behavior of Polistes exclamans, shedding light on this captivating species.

Polistes exclamans is a species of social wasp belonging to the family Vespidae. They have “dark antennae with orange tips, yellow mark on the occiput, extensive yellow mark on the metasoma (except for some specimens in Florida), fore coxae yellow-marked (or at least ferruginous), four yellow vertical lines on the propodeum, and yellow bands on each segment of the metasoma.”(1) These vibrant colors serve as a warning to potential predators, indicating the wasps’ ability to deliver a painful sting if threatened.

Polistes exclamans is a highly active and efficient predator. They primarily feed on nectar and other sugary substances, however they also play a crucial role in controlling populations of other insects, such as caterpillars and spiders, which they capture and paralyze with their venomous stings. This makes them beneficial to ecosystems as natural pest controllers.

While Polistes exclamans can deliver painful stings when threatened, they are generally non-aggressive toward humans and will only sting in self-defense. It is important to remain cautious and maintain a safe distance from their nests, especially during the warmer months when the wasp activity is at its peak because they may strive to string if they feel like people are too close to their nests; threatening their offspring.

Polistes exclamans is a fascinating species with awesome and intricate design making them an intriguing subject of study. By gaining a deeper understanding of these remarkable creatures, we can appreciate the complex dynamics of the natural world and the important roles played by each species within it.

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore. – Andre Gide