Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Paper wasps (Asian & Australian)

Paper wasps have a simple social structure, with only females and males, all help with food gathering, nest building, and producing and rearing young.

Paper wasps are longer and more slender than common and German wasps. Also, unlike common and German wasps, when paper wasps fly they do not hold their legs close to their body. Seeing a wasp flying with "long dangly legs" identifies it as a paper wasp.

Asian Paper Wasp (Polistes chinensis)

  • Black and yellow
  • Males are smaller then females

Australian Paper Wasp (Polistes humilis)

  • Sometimes called the Tasmanian paper wasp
  • Redish brown in colour

Paper Wasp Nests

  • Honeycomb nest, made out of wood chewed and moulded by the wasps
  • Small, usually less than 20 cm in diameter
  • Cells are in a single layer
  • Does not have an outer covering (i.e. you can see into the cells unlike Vespulid nests where the layers of cells are enclosed in an envelope)
  • Roof is covered in a shiny secretion that acts as water-proofing
  • Nests hang from small shrubs and trees, fences and walls. and often under the eaves of houses