Species of the Month - Wasp


Have you seen a wasp this month?

Click the picture and let us know (or use buttons below):

Our Species of the Month for September are the Common Wasp (Vespula vulgaris) and the German Wasp (Vespula germanica)

These two related species feed the larvae in their nest with caterpillars and other insects, and in return the larvae provide tham with a sweet saliva. They often seem to suddenly appear in September as this is the time that the queen stops laying eggs. The workers' time is no longer spent feeding the larvae and so they start searching for other sweet foods for themselves - this could include your pint of cider or your jam sandwich!

Wasps, unlike bees, can use their sting multiple times. This makes them more likely to sting than a bee. However they are unlikely to do so unless threatened by a sudden movement or violent behaviour.

The two species are commonly found and look very similar. The best way to tell them apart is that the Common Wasp (top photo) has an anchor shaped black mark on the front of its head, while the German wasp (photo to left) has three small dots (this difference is particularly obvious in females).

Please record sightings (with a photo if possible) using our online recording form below:


The easiest way to send us information about the species you have seen is via our online form:



Photo credit:
Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]  

Common Wasp: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vespula_vulgaris_portrait.jpg. Tim Evison, Denmark This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.
German Wasp: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gu%C3%AApe_germanique#mediaviewer/Fichier:V.... Maciej Skorecki CC BY 3.0