The genus Synoeca is a group of Neotropical (from Central and South American regions) social wasps, generally medium-sized and with a metallic sheen. Their nest structure is quite unusual; a single comb built flat against a surface like a wall or tree trunk, with a wide but comparatively flat outer envelope covering it, and an entrance hole at one end. This outer envelope resembles corrugated cardboard in appearance and texture!

These wasps are known for their aggression, and also for their extremely painful stings (possibly most painful of any social wasps!) Upon any threat near the nest, the workers are able to produce sound by “drumming” on or rubbing against the inner surface of the nest envelope. If the disturbance continues, the wasps rush out and sometimes pursue the intruder for long distances.

I have two species in my collection, Synoeca surinama and Synoeca septentrionalis. The former is slightly larger, with a steely blue-black sheen and a sharper, longer head profile; the latter slightly smaller with a distinct metallic blue sheen.

Back to genus/species info
Back to main Vespid page
Return to where you last were