Polistes is a large genus of wasps that is found over much of the world. Researchers have often selected wasps in this genus for study because they are comparatively docile, and because their behavior is easily observed on the relatively small exposed comb (Snelling, 1983).
The genus is the largest one in the family Vespidae, and is familiar to people around the world because of the paper nests that are often attached to houses. Polistes wasps are sometimes considered pests because of their proximity to humans, but they are economically beneficial because they consume caterpillars, many species of which are agricultural pests.
Photo location: Selva Negra, highlands of Nicaragua.
Determined by Dr. James M. Carpenter, American Museum of Natural History.
American Insects site