Any of y’all kept wasps?

XxSpiderQueenxX

Arachnoknight
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So I heard of raising wasp colonies-
Catching the queen in spring, raising the colony, etc.
I was wondering if anyone on this forum has ever done this before
Thanks!
 

chanda

Arachnoking
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I've never kept social wasps (unless you count the paper wasps that made a nest on my front door, that I didn't so much "keep" as just allow them to stay there and observe them as they made their regular sojourns into my house, every time the door was opened. Fortunately, they remained on the nest when the door was opened, so I didn't end up with stray wasps loose in the house). I have kept solitary wasps (velvet ants and a tarantula hawk that had damaged wings and couldn't fly) and have kept uninjured tarantula hawks temporarily (for a few weeks) in the classroom, before releasing them.

If you're going to try keeping social wasps, it will be a lot more complicated. You'll need to be sure they are in a large enough enclosure that they have room to fly freely and build a nest, that they have access to appropriate nest-building materials, have an appropriate food supply both for the mature wasps and for the larvae, and have sufficient ventilation that chemical signals don't become muddled or confusing by being trapped in an enclosed space. In an enclosed space, there is also the risk of them damaging their wings while attempting to fly out - such as if they are attracted to the sun (or another light source) and attempting to fly toward it - just like the way insects that end up in the house batter themselves against windows or screen doors, attempting to get out.
 

XxSpiderQueenxX

Arachnoknight
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I've never kept social wasps (unless you count the paper wasps that made a nest on my front door, that I didn't so much "keep" as just allow them to stay there and observe them as they made their regular sojourns into my house, every time the door was opened. Fortunately, they remained on the nest when the door was opened, so I didn't end up with stray wasps loose in the house). I have kept solitary wasps (velvet ants and a tarantula hawk that had damaged wings and couldn't fly) and have kept uninjured tarantula hawks temporarily (for a few weeks) in the classroom, before releasing them.

If you're going to try keeping social wasps, it will be a lot more complicated. You'll need to be sure they are in a large enough enclosure that they have room to fly freely and build a nest, that they have access to appropriate nest-building materials, have an appropriate food supply both for the mature wasps and for the larvae, and have sufficient ventilation that chemical signals don't become muddled or confusing by being trapped in an enclosed space. In an enclosed space, there is also the risk of them damaging their wings while attempting to fly out - such as if they are attracted to the sun (or another light source) and attempting to fly toward it - just like the way insects that end up in the house batter themselves against windows or screen doors, attempting to get out.
I am planning to free-range them when they get enough numbers. Ive heard that Polistes sp. can be kept indoors until 15 workers or more, and Vespula. can be kept until at most 10.
 

Frogdaddy

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I dont have any first hand experience with wasps. But I remember a lady in an invert FB group that chronicled keeping paper wasps.
She started out with the queen and two workers and I think ended up with 8 or 10 workers.
She kept them in an Exo-Terra with dead branches and some live plants. Fed them a insect slurry as well as some type of fruit mixture I believe.
The coolest thing though was she put colored construction paper in the enclosure. The wasps would mash the paper into a pulp, or however they do it, and so the wasp nest was a rainbow of colors from all the different colored papers.
Like this.
 

XxMochiixX

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I actually just heard about this site from another wasp keeper :rofl:

I have 9 species of Polistes, they arent hard to keep really. The easiest species all around is P. dominula. fast growing, colonies get huge and you can find them almost anywhere lol. Theyre also the most commonly kept so you can find more keepers experienced with them. All mine are either in or about to go into diapause so no colonies right now..
Ive never kept Vespula/Dolichovespula but i just got sent some bald faced hornet queens so i'll see how that goes

Bad pics but heres a P. carolina 20201016_184050~2.jpg
 

schmiggle

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Bad pics but heres a P. carolina
She's had it rough, judging by those wings :embarrassed:

It's awesome that you keep nine species! Do you use a tube to let them outside to forage? That's a strategy I've seen. Also, do you keep overwintering queens or just let them outside?
 

XxSpiderQueenxX

Arachnoknight
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I actually just heard about this site from another wasp keeper :rofl:

I have 9 species of Polistes, they arent hard to keep really. The easiest species all around is P. dominula. fast growing, colonies get huge and you can find them almost anywhere lol. Theyre also the most commonly kept so you can find more keepers experienced with them. All mine are either in or about to go into diapause so no colonies right now..
Ive never kept Vespula/Dolichovespula but i just got sent some bald faced hornet queens so i'll see how that goes

Bad pics but heres a P. carolina View attachment 363138
By sent do you mean you bought/traded for a queen? if u did whereeee I have been looking but no one sells them!
 

schmiggle

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By sent do you mean you bought/traded for a queen? if u did whereeee I have been looking but no one sells them!
If you wanna wait for spring and can get to moist woodland I see new queen yellowjackets buzzing around almost every time I look in some places. I think it might be harder this time of year though, and I've read more aggressive than Polistes.
 

XxSpiderQueenxX

Arachnoknight
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If you wanna wait for spring and can get to moist woodland I see new queen yellowjackets buzzing around almost every time I look in some places. I think it might be harder this time of year though, and I've read more aggressive than Polistes.
ah yes I have heard that yellowjacket queens are more aggressive than bald faced hornets and polistes, and harder to tame. I don't have that many woodland places around my area though, and the few that I do have are really dried out (fires, I'm in CA)
 

XxMochiixX

Arachnopeon
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She's had it rough, judging by those wings :embarrassed:

It's awesome that you keep nine species! Do you use a tube to let them outside to forage? That's a strategy I've seen. Also, do you keep overwintering queens or just let them outside?
I've kept them all inside for the full colony cycle but I wanna try that now! When I get yellowjackets I'll have a screened cage outside and free range them when the colony grows. And, I keep the new queens I raise, catch wild males to breed them and then overwinter the queens
 

XxMochiixX

Arachnopeon
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By sent do you mean you bought/traded for a queen? if u did whereeee I have been looking but no one sells them!
I know someone who caught 2 queens and sent them to me a while ago but in a few weeks i'll get to go and look for some myself! They overwinter under rotten logs so you might find some that way
 

XxSpiderQueenxX

Arachnoknight
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I know someone who caught 2 queens and sent them to me a while ago but in a few weeks i'll get to go and look for some myself! They overwinter under rotten logs so you might find some that way
I have been looking, but have not seen a single wasp (except a mud dauber) lolll
 

XxMochiixX

Arachnopeon
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I have been looking, but have not seen a single wasp (except a mud dauber) lolll
It doesn't always work but i've seen every Vespula species in my area come to sugar water I left out and a lot of Polistes queens too. Thats the only other way without waiting until spring, but sometimes they'll just ignore it for no reason lol
 

schmiggle

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It doesn't always work but i've seen every Vespula species in my area come to sugar water I left out and a lot of Polistes queens too. Thats the only other way without waiting until spring, but sometimes they'll just ignore it for no reason lol
They might come to insect or meat baits too
 

XxSpiderQueenxX

Arachnoknight
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It doesn't always work but i've seen every Vespula species in my area come to sugar water I left out and a lot of Polistes queens too. Thats the only other way without waiting until spring, but sometimes they'll just ignore it for no reason lol
I actually tried leaving out sugar water and only managed to drown like 100 monomorium ants... I am actually so angry rn because my apartmment hangs out yellow jacket traps and i saw this huge one dead inside the trap and i feel like it was a queen lol
 

scolopendra277

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I keep bull ants, with despite their names, are basically wingless wasps. I catch their queen, put her in a test tube setup, and watch the colony grow. there might be ants like these around you and might be easier to find.
 

orchidloveXTM

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I have a copy of Invertebrate Magazine with an article on founding captive Polistes sp. colonies. Leaving this post here so I remember later.
 

XxSpiderQueenxX

Arachnoknight
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I keep bull ants, with despite their names, are basically wingless wasps. I catch their queen, put her in a test tube setup, and watch the colony grow. there might be ants like these around you and might be easier to find.
i actually do keep many ant colonies, some of which i have raised from a founding queen! :) i wanna move on to something a little more challenging lol
 
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