Monday, August 15th, 2005 - 12:02 AM

Flying Stingy Thingy

I’m not sure exactly what type of flying stingy thingy this is… wasp, yellowjacket, or something. I’m considering spending more time studying insects, because it’d be nice to know about what I’m photographing and be able to say something more informative than “here’s a bug picture I took.” For now though, here’s a bug picture I took.

Flying Stingy Thingy

OK, I can’t just leave it at that.

Looking at the Wikipedia articles on hornets, yellowjackets, and wasps indicates that this is
a wasp, which is a general term that also applies to both hornets and yellowjackets… but it’s not a hornet or yellowjacket.

It looks a lot like the top picture on the yellowjacket page, but it doesn’t have the yellowjacket’s entirely black antennae. It doesn’t have the wider abdomen of a hornet, either. It appears to be a Paper Wasp or Polistes. That seems likely, because I’ve removed a number of those nests from our property.

These critters are apparently mild mannered, which explains why I was able to get a decent picture without getting stung. According to the Wikipedia article, Polistes dominulus (which as far as I can tell looks identical to the wasp in my photo) didn’t even live in the US prior to 1981.

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