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Cooperative Extension San Joaquin County
University of California
Cooperative Extension San Joaquin County

Posts Tagged: paper wasp

Wasp-Ladybug Encounter

Social paper wasp, genus Mischocyttarus. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
What a spectacular paper wasp! 

On a visit last week to the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road, University of California, Davis, we saw a paper wasp (genus Mischocyttarus) foraging in the fava beans with assorted ladybugs, aphids and ants.

This particular genus is characterized by a long, narrow petiole between the thorax and abdomen. Talk about narrow!  We wouldn't be surprised if the term, "wasp waist" (referring to women girdling their waists in the 19th and 20th century to look "becoming") originated with Mischocyttarus.

The meaning of  Mischocyttarus? It comes from two Greek words, mischos meaning "stalk"  and kyttaros meaning "cell of a honeycomb."

Its family is Vespidae (yellowjackets, paper wasps, and hornets; and potter, mason and pollen wasps) and its subfamily is Polistinae (paper wasps).

The Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre bee friendly garden located next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, is full of surprises throughout the year as insects share the garden meant for pollinators, especially honey bees.

The haven is open from dawn to dusk for self-guided tours; no admission is charged. The Department of Entomology is now offering guided tours ($4 per person).

Paper wasp from the genus Mischocyttarus, goes head to head with a ladybug. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Paper wasp from the genus Mischocyttarus, goes head to head with a ladybug. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Paper wasp from the genus Mischocyttarus, goes head to head with a ladybug. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Paper wasp crawls past a ladybug. Note the ant by the other ladybug. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Paper wasp crawls past a ladybug. Note the ant by the other ladybug. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Paper wasp crawls past a ladybug. Note the ant by the other ladybug. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

This photo clearly shows the long, narrow petiole between the thorax and abdomen. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
This photo clearly shows the long, narrow petiole between the thorax and abdomen. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

This photo clearly shows the long, narrow petiole between the thorax and abdomen. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Close-up of paper wasp (genus Mischocyttarus). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Close-up of paper wasp (genus Mischocyttarus). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Close-up of paper wasp (genus Mischocyttarus). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Monday, February 13, 2012 at 8:40 PM

Capitalizing on the Colors

Ever notice how the coloring of the wool carder bee resembles a yellowjacket and European paper wasp?

Talk about capitalizing on the colors.

Carder bees, so named because they card the fuzz or down from leaves to make their nests, are black and yellow. They buzz around like bees and are approximately the same size.

Carder bees, yellowjackets and paper wasps are all members of the order Hymenoptera, one of the largest orders of insects with some 130,000 described species--and many others undescribed. Also in the order: bees, sawflies and ants.

Some of these relatives you wouldn't want at your picnic.

European paper wasp
European paper wasp

EUROPEAN PAPER WASP rests on a leaf. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Yellowjacket
Yellowjacket

YELLOWJACKET sips water at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis. The watering device is meant for honey bees, but yellowjackets barge in. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Carder Bee
Carder Bee

CARDER BEE rests on a leaf. It sports black and yellow colors similar to wasps and yellowjackets. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 9:09 PM
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