Pest Guides

Social Wasps

Family: Vespidae, e.g. Vespula vulgaris

Appearance

Image of Social Wasps (Vespula vulgaris) | Rentokil Pest Control Ireland
  • Yellow and black abdomen. Markings will differ according to species.

Lifecycle

  • Young Queens overwinter and emerge in the spring to start nest building and lay eggs.
  • Workers (sterile females) emerge during early summer and take over nest building. Queen continues to lay eggs.
  • New queens and males mate in early autumn.
  • Nest dies during winter, including all the males and workers. Only Queens survive to the next year.

Habits

  • Colony size — medium to large (up to as many as 25,000 individuals).
  • Preferred nest sites — lofts, wall cavities, old rodent burrows, hollow trees and bushes.
  • Nest construction — pulped wood (paper). Combs set horizontally. A new nest is produced each year.
  • Swarming — does not swarm.
  • Food preferences — Will take insects and sweet foods.
  • Stings readily and repeatedly.