Banded Paper Wasp

Polistes sagittarius

Polistes sagittarius is a species within the genus Polistes, which is part of the family Vespidae. This genus includes various species of paper wasps, which are known for their distinctive nesting habits and social behavior. Polistes sagittarius, like other paper wasps, is recognized for constructing nests made of paper-like material, which they produce by mixing saliva with fibers scraped from plant material. These wasps are social, with colonies typically consisting of a dominant queen and several worker wasps that help in nest building, foraging, and brood care.






















Polistes sagittarius

Other Information


Polistes sagittarius is venomous, like most wasps, and uses its sting both for defense and for subduing prey. The venom can cause pain and swelling in humans, but it is generally not dangerous unless the person stung has an allergic reaction, which can be severe and potentially life-threatening.

A Danger to Humans?

The primary danger from Polistes sagittarius comes from its sting, which can be painful and potentially lead to allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. These wasps can be aggressive if their nest is threatened, making them a concern in areas where human activity is close to their nesting sites.

Population Status

Specific data on the population size of Polistes sagittarius is not widely available, but Polistes species can commonly be found in suitable habitats where they can establish colonies. The population dynamics can fluctuate based on environmental conditions and the availability of nesting sites and food.

Banded Paper Wasp (Polistes sagittarius), Photo by David Lowenthal

Life Span:
The lifespan of individual Polistes sagittarius wasps can vary, but workers typically live for a few weeks to months, while queens can live longer, potentially surviving to start new colonies the following year.

Weight and Length:
Polistes sagittarius, like many paper wasps, is relatively slender and can vary in length but typically measures about 15 to 25 mm when fully grown.

The specific distribution of Polistes sagittarius can depend on the region, but Polistes wasps are found in various parts of the world, particularly in temperate to tropical climates where they have access to ample food sources and suitable nesting areas.

Habits and Lifestyle:
Polistes sagittarius is diurnal and primarily involved in activities such as foraging for food, constructing and maintaining the nest, and caring for the young. They are known for their hierarchical social structure within the colony.

Diet and Nutrition:
Their diet mainly consists of nectar and other plant-sourced sugars, which provide energy. They also hunt small insects and caterpillars, which are fed to the developing larvae. This predatory behavior helps control pest populations in gardens and agricultural fields.

Mating Habits:
The mating system in Polistes sagittarius typically involves males that emerge from the nest and mate with females towards the end of the season. After mating, fertilized females, potential future queens, overwinter and start new colonies in the spring.