COMMON NAME — Red Wasp
SCIENTIFIC NAME — Polistes perplexus
FAMILY — Vespidae
ORDER — Hymenoptera
It was a warm sunny day and this wasp was on an adventure that captured my interest. It had me chasing it all over the back of the property in an attempt to photo-document a tiny slice of its active life.
Its apparatus looks a bit too clunky to properly perch on this grass stalk.
No worries. The legs are better built for hanging on a grass stalk rather than perching on it. Having very little knowledge of this wasp, I cannot comment much on what I see.
Here the wasp is on a Heath Aster plant, a species which, according to my observations, blooms between September and November. It looks like the wasp’s left foreleg claw is on its face.
A few details about this Red Wasp:
Range — From Maryland to Georgia, and west to southern Illinois, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.
Habitat — Tends to nest in hollow trees and other protected locations, as opposed to the Polistes carolina, a nearly identical species which nests in more open areas.
Diet — Adults commonly prey on caterpillars, chew them up and feed to the larvae in the nest. They are capable of preying on something as large as a cicada.
Other — This species is a large wasp compared to other Paper Wasps.