The common paper wasps are found all across southern mainland Australia from Southern Queensland, through New South Wales, down into Victoria and across to South Australia. They are 10-15mm long and will sometimes appear yellow in or red in colour. The wasp is a social insect and will usually have colonies of many individuals. They make their ‘paper’ nests by chewing nectar and using their saliva to form the nest. Each cell on the cone shaped nest is a nursery, and the larvae are fed by the adults on a diet of chewed caterpillars.
The wasp is a beneficial insect around the home, they help control caterpillars, but they become extremely aggressive when approached or if their nest is disturbed. They can deliver a painful sting and the nests should be avoided during the day. In the event of a sting apply a cold pack and if allergic symptoms appear seek medical advice. The nests are normally built under shelter, areas like under eves and window sills, however stings occur often due to nests also being built on palm leaves and in trees or shrubs. Well established nests can be very large sometimes up to 200mm in diameter consisting of many cells and nurseries at any one time.
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