European
paper wasp (Polistes dominula) ♀︎♂︎

Last update: 27 November 2022
SPECIES: European paper wasp (Polistes dominula)
GENUS: POLISTES
FAMILY: VESPIDAE



OBSERVATION:
2022-VIII-302022-VIII-062022-IX-032021-VIII-112020-VIII-092019-VIII-252019-VIII-24

YEARS:
2019202020212022

MONTHS:
JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec


Official name

Synonyms

Polistes dominula [1,4]

Polistes dominulus
Vespa dominula

see more on: www.gbif.org

Etymology:

dominula

European paper wasp ♀︎ (Polistes dominula), imago

CONTENTS

1. Distribution
2. Behaviour
3. Plant relations
4. Prey relations
5. Parasitic relations
6. Identification

1. DISTRIBUTION

Polistes dominula is an uncommon wasp [2] occuring throughout the Netherlands [2] .

Garden species

The species has been first observed in our garden in 2019.

2. BEHAVIOUR

2.1. ACTIVITY

The species is active from the end of April towards the beginning of November, with the males appearing in the second halve of June [3].

2.2. DEVELOPMENT

Nest

The females of this hypergeic species built their own nests using paper produced from chewed wood pulp. The nest consists of a comb and is gymnodome, i.e. it has no envelope like the nest of for example the Common wasp (Vespula vulgaris). For that reason nest are constructed on somewhat sheltered locations. Often man-made materials are used as substrate for the nest [20].

Personal observations on Polistes dominula nest locations include:

LocationLandDescription
In windowItalyA large nest with ±250-300 cells (photo below left).
Underneath a rock on the groundFranceNest size could not be determined (photo below right).
In gutterItalyA middle sized nest standing free in the end of a gutter.
In fire hose enclosureItalyA slid-shaped opening in the door of the enclosure provided the entrance to the middle-sized nest hanging inside.
Underneath roof tilesItalyNot clear how many nests were involved. Many specimen were present on the roof of a stone shed-like structure. They emerged from underneath several roof tiles. Inside the shed near the roof top was the entrance to the nest of Vespa crabro.
Porch roofItalyA small nest of ±10 cells hanging on the porch roof close to the wall of the cabin.
Table 2.2-1: Personal observations on nest locations
European paper wasp ♀︎ (Polistes dominula), nest in window
European paper wasp ♀︎ (Polistes dominula), nest underneath a rock on the ground

Depending on the circumstances an old nest may be used, either as substrate for the new nest [22] or as-is [24].

2.3. BEE HOTEL

In 2022 the species formed aggregation in the deep cracks in the nesting blocks of the bee hotel in our garden. These so-called pre-overwinter aggregations are part of an important social process for the species in which the new queens for the next season are determined [23].

European paper wasp ♀︎ (Polistes dominula), pre-overwinter aggregation

3. PLANT RELATIONS

3.1. WOOD TYPES

The following wood types are mentioned in literature as medium for the wasp to built her nests:

shrubs [20]
Table 3.1-1: wood types used as nest substrate

3.2. FOOD PLANTS

The following plant species are mentioned in literature as food sources:

Amaryllidaceae
Allium
Allium ramosum (Chinese chive) [7]
Apiaceae
Chaerophyllum
Chaerophyllum bulbosum (Bulbous-rooted chervil) [7]

Cirsium
Cirsium arvense (Creeping thistle) [7]

Daucus
Daucus carota (Carrot) [7]

Eryngium
Eryngium campestre (Field eryngo) [7]
Eryngium maritimum (Sea holly) [7]

Falcaria
Falcaria vulgaris [7]

Foeniculum
Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel) [7]

Heracleum (Hogweed)
Heracleum sphondylium [7als Heracleum sibiricum]

Seseli
Seseli libanotis (Moon carrot) [7]
Asteraceae
(Composite family)

Arctium
Arctium lappa (Burdock) [7]

Carduus
Carduus acanthoides [7]

Centaurea
Centaurea diffusa [7]

Solidago
Solidago canadensis [7]

Symphyotrichum
Symphyotrichum novi-belgi [7]

Taraxacum
Taraxacum officinale [7]

Tussilago
Tussilago farfara [7]
Bignoniaceae
(Trumpetvines)

Campsis
Campsis radicans (Trumpetvine) [7]
Brassicaceae
(Cabbage family)

Alliaria
Alliaria petiolata [7]

Capsella
Capsella bursa-pastoris [7]
Caprifoliaceae
(Honeysuckle
family)

Symphoricarpos
– Symphoricarpos albus [7]
Caryophyllaceae
Alsine
Alsine media [7]

Gypsophila
Gypsophila paniculata [7]

Saponaria
Saponaria officinalis [7]
Convolvulaceae [7als Cuscutaceae]
Cuscuta
Cuscuta campestris [7]
Crassulaceae
Hylotelephium
Hylotelephium spectabile [7]
Euphorbiaceae
Euphorbia
Euphorbia marginata [7]
Fabaceae
Melilotus
Melilotus albus [7]
Lamiaceae
Mentha
– Mentha piperita [7]

Satureja
Satureja monta [7]
Plantaginaceae [7als Veronicaceae]
Linaria
– Linaria vulgaris [7]
Plumbaginaceae
Limonium
– Limonium platyphyllum [7]
Resedaceae
Reseda
Reseda lutea [7]
Rosaceae
Crataegus [7]

Prunus
Prunus cerasifera [7]

Rubus
Rubus idaeus [7]
Salicaceae
Salix [7]
Salix acutifolia [7]
– Salix caprea [7]
Sapindaceae
Acer (Esdoorn)
Acer platanoides [7]
Acer pseudoplatanus [7]
Acer tataricum [7]

Aesculus
Aesculus parviflora [7]
Tiliaceae
Tilia
Tilia cordata [7]
Violaceae
Viola
Viola odorata [7]
Table 3.2-1: Food plants in the Netherlands

Plant species outside the Netherlands:

Apiaceae
Peucedanum
Peucedanum ruthenicum [7]

Seseli
Seseli tortuosum [7]

Sium
Sium sisarum [7]
Apocynaceae
Cynanchum
Cynanchum acutum [7]
Asteraceae
Cirsium
Cirsium ukranicum [7]

Galatella
– Galatella dracunculoides [7]

Senecio
Senecio macrophyllus [7]
Euphorbiaceae
Euphorbia
Euphorbia stepposa [7]
Euphorbia virgata [7]
Grossulariaceae
Grossularia
– Grossularia reclinata [7]
Lamiaceae
Teucrium
Teucrium polium [7]
Rubiaceae
Galium
Galium humifusum [7]
Galium articulatum [7]
Vitaceae
Ampelopsis
Ampelopsis aconitifolia [7]
Table 3.2-2: Food plants outside the Netherlands

Garden species

Our garden provides some of these foodplants on which the species has been observed foraging:

Apiaceae
Foeniculum
Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel)
Bignoniaceae
(Trumpetvines)

Campsis
Campsis radicans (Trumpetvine) [7]
Table 3.2-3: Food plants in our garden on which the species has been observed foraging

4. PREY RELATIONS

The species uses caterpillars of butterflies and moths [5] for her brood, but also larvae of other orders are used.


The following species and group occurring in the Netherlands [1] are mentioned in literature:

Coleoptera
(Beetles)

Chrysomelidae
Cassida (Tortoisebeetles)
Cassida rubiginosa (Thistle tortoise beetle) [10,13,14]


Coccinellidae (Lady birds)
Coccinella [19]


Tenebrionidae
Tenebrio
Tenebrio molitor (Mealworm) [13]
Diptera
(Flies)

Agromyzidae
Cerodontha


Ceratopogonidae
Forcipomyia [19]


Tabanidae [19]
Hemiptera [12]
Auchenorrhyncha (Cicadae) [12]


Lepidoptera
(Butterflies)

Butterflies
Lycaenidae
Lycaena [19]


Pieridae
Pieris
Pieris brassicae [21]
– Pieris napi [11]
Pieris rapae [20]


Moths
Geometridae [6]
Chloroclystis [19]

Peribatodes [19]

Scopula [19]


Noctuidae
Agrotis [19]

Leucania [19]

Mythimna [19]

Thysanoplusia [19]


Tortricidae [6]
Epiphyas [19]
Epiphyas postvittana [12]


Pyralidae
Galleria
Galleria mellonella [17]
Araneae
(Spiders)

Theridiidae
Cryptachaea [19]
Table 4-1: Prey species in the Netherlands

Prey species outside the Netherlands:

Diptera
(Flies)

Tachinidae
Trigonospila [19]
Hemiptera [12]
Auchenorrhyncha (Cicadae) [12]

Kikihia [19]
Kikihia muta [12]
Lepidoptera
(Butterflies)

Butterflies
Hesperiidae
Epargyreus
Epargyreus clarus [15]


Lycaenidae
Zizina [19]
Zizina labradus {20]


Nymphalidae
Danaus
Danaus plexippus [11,12,19,20]


Moths
Erebidae
Egone [19]

Nyctemera [19]


Geometridae
Declana [19]

Phrissogonus [19]


Noctuidae
Ctenoplusia [19]

Ectopatria [19]


Pyralidae
Leptodus [19als Vincia]


Saturniidae
Gamelia [19]

Hemileuca
Hemileuca lucina [13]

Opodiphthera [19]


Tortricidae
Holocola [19]

Merophyas [19]
Mantodea
(Mantids)

Mantidae
Orthodera [19]
Table 4-2: Prey species outside the Netherlands

5. PARASITIC RELATIONS

The following species and groups occurring in the Netherlands [1] are mentioned in literature:

Chalcidoidae
(Chalcid wasps)

Pteromalidae

Dibrachys
Dibrachys cavus [18,19]

Diptera
(Flies)

Sarcophagidae

Sarcophaga [18]
Xenidae
Xenos
Xenos vesparum [5,8]
Table 5-1: Parasitic species in the Netherlands

Parasitic species outside the Netherlands:

Lepidoptera
(Butterflies)

Crambidae

Chalcoela
Chalcoela iphitalis [18]
Vespidae
(Vespid wasps)

Polistes
Polistes sulcifer [16]
Polistes semenowi [16]
Polistes atrimandibularis [8,16]

Table 5-2: Parasitic species outside the Netherlands

6. IDENTIFICATION

Length males: 10 – 17 mm
Length females: 10 – 17 mm

Genus

The genus Polistes can be identified using the following characters:

1.  Antenna: elongated, not club-shaped [9]

European paper wasp ♀︎ (Polistes dominula), antenna with elongated flag

2. Forewing: with three submarginal cells [9]

European paper wasp ♀︎ (Polistes dominula), forewing with three submarginal cells

3. Legs: middle shins (tibia) with two thorns [9]

European paper wasp ♀︎ (Polistes dominula), middle tibia with two thorns

4. Legs: tarsal claws without teeth [9]

European paper wasp ♀︎ (Polistes dominula), tarsus claws without teeth

5. Mandibles: short and wide, without carinae on the outside [9]

European paper wasp ♀︎ (Polistes dominula), jaws short and wide, without carinae

6. Abdomen: cone-shaped [9]

European paper wasp ♀︎ (Polistes dominula), abdomen cone-shaped

7. Abdomen: frontally gradually narrowed towards the petiole [9]

European paper wasp ♀︎ (Polistes dominula), abdomen frontally gradually narrowed towards petiolus
European paper wasp ♀︎ (Polistes dominula), abdomen frontally gradually narrowed towards petiolus


specimen caught for photo identification on 29-viii-2022

European paper wasp ♀︎ (Polistes dominula), imago
European paper wasp ♀︎ (Polistes dominula), imago
European paper wasp ♀︎ (Polistes dominula), imago
European paper wasp ♀︎ (Polistes dominula), imago

1. Antenna: with 12 segments [9]

European paper wasp ♀︎ (Polistes dominula), antenna with twelve segments

2. Abdomen: with 6 segments [9]

European paper wasp ♀︎ (Polistes dominula), abdomen with six segments

3. Head: eyes dark coloured [9]

European paper wasp ♀︎ (Polistes dominula), eyes dark

4. Head: lower halve face underneath antennae yellow and black coloured [9]

European paper wasp ♀︎ (Polistes dominula), lower half face below antennae with yellow and black markings

5. Abdomen: with stinger [9]

HEAD

1. Mandibles: outside without recesses [9]

European paper wasp ♀︎ (Polistes dominula), jaws short and wide, without recesses

2. Clypeus: base middle lobe without depression, in side view weakly convex [9]

European paper wasp ♀︎ (Polistes dominula), base clypeus middle lobe without depression, in sideview progressing weakly convex

3. Clypeus: middle lobe protruding beyond side corners [9]

European paper wasp ♀︎ (Polistes dominula), clypeus middle lobe protruding beyond the side corners

4. Clypeus: completely yellow or with extensive black colouring (here completely yellow) [9]

European paper wasp ♀︎ (Polistes dominula), clypeus completely yellow or with extensive black spot

5. Antenna: from the third member completely orange [9]

European paper wasp ♀︎ (Polistes dominula), antenna from the third member completely orange

THORAX

no characters

ABDOMEN

1. Sternite 6 typically predominantly yellow [9]

European paper wasp ♀︎ (Polistes dominula), sternite 6 typically predominantly yellow




1. Antenna with 13 segments [9]

2. Abdomen with 7 segments [9]

3. Head: eyes coloured green [9]

European paper wasp ♂︎ (Polistes dominula), eyes green

4. Head: lower halve face underneath antennae completely yellow [9]

European paper wasp ♂︎ (Polistes dominula), lower half face below antennae completely yellow

5. Antenna: apical antennal members spirally rolled [9]

European paper wasp ♂︎ (Polistes dominula), apical antennal members rolled spirally

KOP

1. Mandibles: outside without recesses [9]

European paper wasp ♂︎ (Polistes dominula), outer side mandibles without recesses

2. Mandibles: yellow coloured [9]

European paper wasp ♂︎ (Polistes dominula), mandibles yellow

2. Clypeus: base middle lobe without depression, in side view weakly convex [9]

3. Clypeus: middle lobe protruding beyond side corners [9]

European paper wasp ♂︎ (Polistes dominula), clypeus middle lobe protruding beyond the side corners

4. Antenna: from the third member completely orange [9]

European paper wasp ♂︎ (Polistes dominula), antenna from the third member completely orange

THORAX

no characters

ABDOMEN

no characters



References

1 Nederlands Soortenregister

2 Waarneming.nl

3 Peeters, T.M.J., C. van Achterberg, W.R.B. Heitmans, W.F. Klein, V. Lefeber, A.J. van Loon, A.A. Mabelis, H. Nieuwen-huijsen, M. Reemer, J. de Rond, J. Smit, H.H.W. Velthuis, 2004. De wespen en mieren van Nederland (Hymenoptera: Aculeata). – Nederlandse Fauna 6. Nationaal Natuurhistorisch Museum Naturalis, Leiden, knnv Uitgeverij, Utrecht & European Invertebrate Survey – Nederland, Leiden.

4 Smit, John T. & Smit, Jan. (2014). A social parasitic Polistes wasp parasitized by a twisted-wing insect (Hymenoptera: Vespidae, Strepsiptera: Xenidae). Entomologische Berichten. 73. 121-123.

5 Hughes, David & Kathirithamby, Jeyaraney & Turillazzi, Stefano & Beani, Laura. (2004). Social wasps desert the colony and aggregate outside if parasitized: parasite manipulation?. Behavioral Ecology. 15. 1037-1043.

6 Ruchin, Alexander & Antropov, Alexander. (2019). Wasp fauna (Hymenoptera: Bethylidae, Chrysididae, Dryinidae, Tiphiidae, Mutillidae, Scoliidae, Pompilidae, Vespidae, Sphecidae, Crabronidae & Trigonalyidae) of Mordovia State Nature Reserve and its surroundings in Russia. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 11. 13195-13250. 10.11609/jott.4216.11.2.13195-13250.

7 AMOLIN, A. V.; OGOL, I. N. Ïèùåâûå ñâÿçè ñêëàä÷àòîêðûëûõ îñ (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) ñ öâåòêîâûìè ðàñòåíèÿìè (Magnoliophyta) â Äîíáàññå Trophic relations of wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) with flowering plants (Magnoliophyta) in Donbass.

Error: reference post not defined9 MAUSS, Volker; TREIBER, Reinhold; SCHMID-EGGER, Christian. Bestimmungsschlüssel für die Faltenwespen (Hymenoptera: Masarinae, Polistinae, Vespidae) der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. DJN (Deutscher Jugendbund für Naturbeobachtung), 2004.

10 SCHENK, Dominique; BACHER, Sven. Functional response of a generalist insect predator to one of its prey species in the field. Journal of Animal Ecology, 2002, 71.3: 524-531.

11 Rayor, Linda & Mooney, Larissa & Renwick, J. Alan. (2007). Predatory Behavior of Polistes dominulus Wasps in Response to Cardenolides and Glucosinolates in Pieris napi Caterpillars. Journal of chemical ecology. 33. 1177-85. 10.1007/s10886-007-9283-4.

12 Howse, M.W.F., McGruddy, R.A., Felden, A. et al. The native and exotic prey community of two invasive paper wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) in New Zealand as determined by DNA barcoding. Biol Invasions 24, 1797–1808 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-022-02739-0

13 Stamp, Nancy & Bowers, M.. (1988). Direct and indirect effects of predatory wasps (Polistes sp.: Vespidae) on gregarious caterpillars (Hemileuca lucina: Saturniidae). Oecologia. 75. 619-624. 10.1007/BF00776428.

14 SPATARO, Thierry, et al. Ratio‐dependent predation in a field experiment with wasps. Ecosphere, 2012, 3.12: 1-12.

15 Weiss, Martha & Wilson, Erin & Castellanos Sturemark, Ignacio. (2004). Weiss MR, Wilson EE, Castellanos I. Predatory wasps learn to overcome the shelter defences of their larval prey. Animal Behaviour. Animal Behaviour. 68.45-54.10.1016/j.anbehav.2003.07.010.

16 Cervo, Rita. (2007). Polistes Wasps and Their Social Parasites: An Overview. Ann. Zool. Fennici. 43. 531-549.

17 BROWN, R., et al. Prey capture and caste-specific payload capacities in the European paper wasp Polistes dominulus. Insectes sociaux, 2012, 59.4: 519-525.

18 Miller, G.L., Donnelly, C.R. & Gamboa, G.J. A ten-year comparative study of the population dynamics and parasitoidism in the native paper wasp Polistes fuscatus and the invasive P. dominulus . Insect. Soc. 60, 49–56 (2013). https://doi-org.naturalis.idm.oclc.org/10.1007/s00040-012-0264-4

19 Howse, Matthew (2021): Ecological impact and spread of an invasive paper wasp in New Zealand (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington. Thesis. https://doi.org/10.26686/wgtn.14670114.v1

20 McGruddy, Rose (2021): The nesting ecology, habitat preference, abundance and impacts of Polistes dominula in New Zealand. Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington. Thesis. https://doi.org/10.26686/wgtn.14538585.v1

21 LUCAS-BARBOSA, Dani, et al. Caught between parasitoids and predators–survival of a specialist herbivore on leaves and flowers of mustard plants. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 2014, 40.6: 621-631.

22 Łączyński, P. (2020). Multiple Use of an Old Nest by the European Paper Wasp Polistes dominula (Hymenoptera, Vespidae) in Central Poland. Sociobiology, 67(3), 469–472. https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v67i3.4931

23 Dapporto, Leonardo & Palagi, Elisabetta & Cini, Alessandro & Turillazzi, Stefano. (2006). Prehibernating aggregations of Polistes dominulus: An occasion to study early dominance assessment in social insects. Die Naturwissenschaften. 93. 321-4. 10.1007/s00114-006-0104-3.

24 Abs, Ieka & Baracchi, David & Turillazzi, Stefano. (2015). Reuse of old nests by the European paper wasp Polistes dominula (Hymenoptera Vespidae). Journal of Zoology. 98. 21-24.