Paper Wasps  
Paper Wasp
Paper Wasp
Paper Wasps hover around my butterfly host plants. They face toward the plants and patrol, flying search patterns, seeking prey. They eat my caterpillars! This yellow and brown paper wasp is eating a white and black Zebra Heliconian Caterpillar; that's the state butterfly of Florida.
Paper Wasp building a wasp nest on a porch ceiling
Paper Wasp Nest under a Seagrape leaf
Here's one of the first wasps I saw attack a caterpillar. I saw it, ran for the camera (which will spend even MORE time in my pocket now that I nearly missed this picture), and had time for three quick photos before the wasp flew away with the caterpillar to have dinner elsewhere.
Paper Wasp
Paper Wasps are attracted to my butterfly host plants, and they tend to live where food is readily available. These creepy stinging bugs will use any overhang that protects them from the sun and rain for shelter.
reddish-orange Paper Wasp with yellow stripes eating a caterpillar
This wasp is building her nest on the ceiling of the corner of a porch. I bravely stood on a chair beneath her to take pictures. She began with one cell, and for several days diligently constructed more papery cells in which to rear her young.
Paper Wasp building a wasp nest on a porch ceiling with eggs in the cells
You can see a tiny white wasp egg  that she's laid in the top left cell. Paper Wasps don't limit themselves to human dwellings; this next one chose a Sea Grape leaf to build its wasp nest under.
Paper Wasp Larva
Mama wasp lays a single pale oval egg midway down each hole. One end of the egg is glued to the papery structure.
Paper Wasp egg, larva, adn pupating larva
Paper Wasp eating a Gulf Fritillary Butterfly Caterpillar
Paper Wasp nest under the edge of a mailbox
These wasps taught me the importance of actually putting the camera strap around your wrist - always. I should have known better. After I took this picture the wasps got a bit upset and flew, some toward me. I jumped, the camera flew, and the lens crashed into the driveway - bye bye camera. It was a lesson that saved my present camera. A huge biting fly startled me recently and the strap saved the camera during my sideways leap.
Paper Wasp eggs, larva, and pupa
Finally, some green! Look carefully though. Beneath the new five-celled wasp nest lurks another interesting bug. The huge green stinkbug was enjoying the fruits of this Corkystem Passionvine.
This dark reddish-orange paper wasp is sipping on Wild Poinsettia; I've seen a lot of bugs enjoy that plant.
Paper Wasp Egg
I mentioned that wasps eat other bugs. This big striped bug is a Mydas Fly. If you live in the south, you might recognize those flat brown burrs on the plant behind the bugs. Those are Desmodium burrs. They are most frequently found on your socks after you walk through weedy areas, and they're jolly fun to pluck off by the thousands after your kids play a rolling on the ground game of football where they grow!
Paper Wasp eating a snack
The egg hatches into a pale worm-like wasp larva that lives, face up, in the hole, waiting to be fed by adult wasps until it pupates. When it spins its wasp cocoon, the cell looks like it's filled with white cotton candy puffed into a dome.  It then undergoes metamorphosis, or changes from a white slug-like larva into a full grown, flying, stinging, caterpillar eating wasp. Ok, it eats other stuff too - I'm a bit protective of my caterpillars, so that part bugs me the most.
Paper Wasp nest in a hollow in a palm tree
Paper wasps also visit flowers. This brown and yellow wasp is perched on white Hempvine flowers. Butterflies were having a field day there too. Unfortunately, someone decided that it was a weed, and now it's a mowed grassy area.
Paper Wasp nest under a passionvine leaf next to a really really big green stinkbug
These wasps chose to nest in a tiny hollow in a palm tree.
Paper Wasp eating a caterpillar
Paper Wasp enjoying a Hempvine flower
The chewed goo on this passionvine leaf is a Gulf Fritillary caterpillar. You can still see a bit of orange with black spines. Here's another Gulf that fell prey to these wasps:
Paper Wasp eating a much larger Mydas Fly
There's a Paper Wasp near an ant on a Firebush, and here's one perched on a Passiflora suberosa leaf. See the red Larra Wasp in the background?
Paper Wasp enjoying a Wild Poinsettia flower
Paper Wasp near an ant on a plant
Paper Wasp nest hanging from a leaf by a single conneciton
Paper Wasp eating a Gulf Fritillary Caterpillar
Paper Wasp eating a Gulf Fritillary Caterpillar
Paper Wasp
Paper Wasp on a Passiflora suberosa leaf near a Larra Wasp
When I glance at one of these bugs outside, I know it's a wasp. Some of the other wasps I've found left me scratching my head and asking one of my friends what it was. Look at some of the unusual wasps I've found on my bug page. My yard is mostly pesticide free, but for biting ants and caterpillar eating wasps, I occasionally make an exception and bring on the bug spray.
This last wasp was eating something. I wasn't sure what until I noticed the dragonfly wings.
Paper Wasp eating a dragonfly
Fallen Dragonfly Wings
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