Wasps

Wasps There are two main species of wasp that may affect England; the common wasp (vespula vulgaris) and the german wasp (vespula germanica)

The queens normally emerge from in mid-April, and each one starts to search for a suitable site for its future colony- this may be a cavity in a wall, in a loft, or under the eaves of a house. Other favourite locations are, garden sheds, privet hedges and holes in the ground.

The queen starts the colony by building a small nest. The nest is built from wasps paper, a mixture she makes from chewed wood, plant debris and saliva. Inside the cell she constructs between 10 – 20 hexagonal cells and lays a egg in each one. When these hatch she is kept busy fetching food for the larvae. The larvae then construct silken cocoons in which they pupate, about a month later the first workers emerge. These are smaller than the queen and are all female – male wasps emerge later in the season. The queen can now concentrate solely on egg laying, whilst the workers take over the nest construction enlarging it as required. They also forage for food, ventilate the nest and feed the developing wasps larvae. By the end of the summer, the nest may house over 20,000 wasps. With the onset of autumn, new queens and males are bred. Once fertilisation has taken place the males die and the young queens search for a suitable hibernation site to spend winter i.e. lofts and under the bark of trees. Because wasps have not evolved to the level of storing food over winter the colonies die when conditions become too cold, existing nests.