Wasps - All varieties

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 Wasps - Most common UK varieties




Wasp Nest's

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What the different nests look like

Whilst the different species of wasp produce 'different' looking nests they are all made in the same way.

As mentioned earlier, the wasps collect wood by scraping thin layers from fence panels, garden furniture etc, and turn this wood in to a pulp which they use to paste around the nest. The intricate patterns are quite remarkable. Depending on the species (and the size of their mouthparts) the width of the scrapings and patterns pasted on the nest is different.

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Wasp Life Cycle

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All Wasps in the UK follow the same life cycle.

Wasps like most insects go through 4 stages of 'development' (complete metamorphosis)

egg - larvae - pupae - adult

The 'Queen' wasps hibernate over the winter to emerge in spring. Depending on the species, the queens choose a suitable site to start the 'new' wasp nest. OLD wasp nests from previous years are not used again although it has been known for the queen to start her new nest adjacent to or 'within' an old wasp nest (vespula vulgaris).

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Hornet Information

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The largest UK 'wasp' is the Hornet.

The 'boeing 747's' of the wasp world. The European Hornet (vespa crabro) certainly is a formidable flying insect. Armed with a sting that can penetrate deeper than all other wasps, the hornet really has no threat of attack from any other insect.

Often 'good' insects as they love to catch smaller wasps to feed to their young, there is a good argument to leave them well alone if they're far from your house. Also the European hornet is considered far less aggressive than other wasps. 'Treatment' of a hornets nest is often chosen though for the following reasons.

  • Hornets demonstrate 'nocturnal' activity which means people might find them inside their house at night.
  • They can deliver a painful sting for which some people may be allergic.
  • Hornets kill many insects, including Honey Bee's. IF you have a local beekeeper near you, you'll find him extremely grateful if you get rid of the hornets that have been attacking his/her bee's.

Size - Typically about an Inch long (25mm)

Distribution - Mainly southern England.

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European Wasps

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Other UK wasps

We use the term 'European' wasps to describe two other species of wasp found in the UK. The German Wasp (vespula germanica) and the Norwegian Wasp (dolichovespula norvegica). Also in this section we describe the 'tree wasp' (dolichovespula sylvestris)

All species tend to build nests outdoors and can be found in bushes, hedges and tree's.

(vespula germanica)

Size - 15mm long

Marks - Balck and yellow stripes, 3 distinguishing black 'dots' on its face.

Nests - Usually outdoors, found in bushes and hedges.

See the Wasp Nest page for nest identification.

Distribution : Generally found in the southern counties but occasionally further north.

(dolichovespula norvigica)

Marks - Black and yellow stripes,  black band across face instead of a spot.

Nests - Usually outdoors, found in bushes and hedges. Smaller nest than the german wasp with looser covering.

Distribution : Generally widespread throughout.







(dolichovespula sylvestris)

Marks - Black and yellow stripes, one black spot in centre of face.

Nests - The smallest of all the wasp nests. Usually outdoors in tree's bushes, occasionally underground.

Distribution -  Reasonably widespread. Not as common as all the other wasps.






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