Paper wasps may be seen favourably if gardening is a pastime of yours. Many garden nuisance insects are prey for paper wasps and other social wasps. Unfortunately, paper wasps may scrape wood from houses to make their nests and eat fruits, ruining their look. Paper wasps are not aggressive, but their sting can cause serious injury. Therefore, their nests cause anxiety for many homeowners when they appear.
Each species of paper wasp has a unique lifestyle and lifespan. The average length of a paper wasp is between 1 and 1 and a half inches. Some species have crimson markings, but most are brownish with yellow spots.
New paper wasp queens are the only ones who survive the winter. To make it through the colder months, queens will build their nests in sheltered areas such as under trees’ bark or wall voids. Multiple queens often collaborate in the spring to establish a new colony. At some point, one queen will rise to power, force the others to submit to her wishes, and become slaves to the new colony.
Paper wasps create nests resembling paper by scraping and chewing wood into a pasty pulp. Places such as bushes, tree branches, porch ceilings, window and door frames, roof overhangs, attic rafters, under decks, joists, or railings are ideal for these nests because of the protection they provide. Underneath the nest, the queen lays her eggs in the comb (cells). Workers of the wasp species capture other insects, such as caterpillars, to feed to the grub-like immatures that develop from the eggs. Adults emerge from the cells where the larvae have grown into the colony after a brief period of cellular pupation. In the adult stage, paper wasps primarily consume nectar.
Paper wasps aren’t aggressive unless threatened but will sting if provoked. Paper wasp nests are a common source of stings because unsuspecting humans frequently stumble upon them in shrubbery or other concealing locations near human habitation.
- Life Cycle of Paper Wasp
Eggs are placed singly in cells, and the resulting larvae, which resemble legless grubs, go through a series of stages called instars before emerging from their larval form as adult moths. Cells don’t close off until the larvae have completed their development and pupated. These female wasps, known as “workers,” help with all aspects of nest maintenance, including construction, feeding the young, and protection. There could be twenty to thirty adult paper wasps in a fully developed nest.
As summer progresses, queens stop laying eggs, signalling the beginning of the end for the colony. After mating in the fall, the queen’s progeny looks for safe places to spend the winter. The rest of the territory perishes during the harsh winter.