Tag Archives: red wasp (Polistes carolina)


Little more than two weeks ago I had a fateful run-in with a mob of my archenemy, the red wasp (Polistes carolina).

A red wasp (Polistes carolina) crawling through the grass (2009_07_31_028132)

Since developing my deadly allergy to bee, ant and wasp stings almost three decades ago, this represents the only wasp species to sting me, a ubiquitous critter in the southern United States.  As each sting has resulted in a reaction exponentially worse than the one before, over the years my loathing of these wasps has grown by leaps and bounds.

A red wasp (Polistes carolina) crawling through the grass (2009_07_31_028133)

It’s the only species of wasp capable of eliciting palpable fear.  Quite honestly, I don’t have a single good photo of a red wasp because I tend to run in the opposite direction when I see one.  Any other wasp and I’m all up in its face asking it to smile for a portrait.  But red wasps?  Um, no, not so much.

A red wasp (Polistes carolina) crawling through the grass (20080614_06802)

As is typical with most Polistes spp., red wasps are just plain mean and always ready to pick a fight.  Individually they tend toward being busy hunting or chewing wood to make pulp; collectively they’re a gang of thugs wanting to pummel anything that moves.

So when one got inside the house yesterday, barely two weeks after her ilk did significant bodily harm to me, I didn’t think twice about kicking her ass.  I capture most home invaders and relocate them outside; red wasps are now on the list of things to kill first and ask questions never.