Common name: Paper Wasp

Scientific name: Polistes dominulus

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Arthopada

Class: Insecta

Order: Hymenoptera 

Family: Vespidea

Genus: Polistes

Species: P. dominulus



Paper wasps are about an inch long. Sometimes called umbrella wasp, because the way they shape their nest. They are usually black or brown with some yellow. They are skinny and narrow. Their body has a black stripe while their head is yellow.


The Polistes Dominulus is sometimes confused with a yellow jacket. The dominulus paper wasp is yellow and black, resembling the pattern of the yellowjackets. Their nests are made from plant or wood fibers mixed with saliva to make a paper Mache looking nest. The size of the nest can be from 150-250 cells. They are mostly found on the east coast but they are originally from Europe.


They eat other insects such as caterpillars, flies, and beetle larvae, but nectar is their main source of energy. Each nest only has about 25 adult wasps. In the summer it’s a full house but in the fall if you’re not a mated female or a queen bee you die. The new queen and mated females hibernate until spring. The queen is the ruler in the nest. She lays the eggs and gets the food for the young. Beyond that she is queen and has all the other bees do everything else for her.


Author: Mason S

Published: 2/2008




Photo Credit: Iron Chris