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Paper Wasps (Polistes sp.).  Paper wasps are part of the Vespidae family, and include 21 wasp species in North America.  Generally, paper wasps are not aggressive, although they are capable of stinging and might do so if disturbed.  They create nests of rotted wood and paper and can be found under the eaves of buildings, in attics, trees, etc.  Overall, they are considered a beneficial species since they feed on agricultural pests like caterpillars, which can destroy plants (Los Angeles County West Vector Control District).

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Photographs by Valerie Lykes and Janine Ngai