---Sun Tzu, The Art of War
I have been fighting red wasps for years over the ownership of our deck overlooking Bull Creek. This year their numbers were down but they developed anger management issues, stinging me twice. This was without provocation unless you count walking out the front door. In addition to attacking the problem again, I decided it was time to get to know my enemy better.
First I needed to identify it. I knew from last year's experience that it was a paper wasp of the genus Polistes. Searching Bugguide.net images for Polistes I found this picture of Polistes metricus, a perfect match for the thorax markings except the abdomen is usually dark. It turned out that this specimen was a color variant as others had the typical dark abdomen.
Like other paper wasps of the Polistes genus, in nature P. Metricus hangs its paper nest from branches but they have learned that buildings provide a convenient opportunity, especially openings in roof soffit, the underside of the roof overhangs. They build their nests out of old wood fibers glued together to make an umbrella-like structure with individual cells for their eggs.
|Polistes nest with newborns|