WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY – ENCHANTED FOREST PARK, FL
This photograph is of a Paper Wasp that was taken in Enchanted Forest Park located off of NE135th Street in North Miami, Florida. The paper wasp was photographed using a Nikon D90 camera body attached to a Nikkor 60mm 2.8 lens and macro light ring to enhance illumination.
Paper Wasp, common name for medium- to large-sized wasps that construct nests made of a papery material. The nests consist of a single upside-down layer of brood cells (compartments for the young). There are 22 species of paper wasps in North America and approximately 700 species world-wide.
Most paper wasps measure about 2 cm (0.75 in) long and are black, brown, or reddish in color with yellow markings. Paper wasps will defend their nest if attacked. Adults forage for nectar, their source of energy, and for caterpillars to feed the larvae (young). They are natural enemies of many garden insect pests. A widespread North American species is the golden paper wasp.
The nests of most true paper wasps are characterized by having open combs with cells for brood rearing, and a ‘petiole’, or constricted stalk, that anchors the nest. Paper wasps secrete a chemical which repels ants, which they spread around the base of the anchor to prevent the loss of eggs or brood.
Unlike yellowjackets and hornets, which can be very aggressive, polistine paper wasps will generally only attack if they themselves or their nest are threatened. Since their territoriality can lead to attacks on people, and because their stings are quite painful and can produce a potentially fatal anaphylactic reaction in some individuals, nests in human-inhabited areas may present an unacceptable hazard.
Most wasps are beneficial in their natural habitat, and are critically important in natural biocontrol. Paper wasps feed on nectar, and other insects, including caterpillars, flies, and beetle larvae, and they are often considered to be beneficial by gardeners.