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Wasps UK | Types, Features and Lifecycle of UK Wasp

Types of Wasps Introduction

Wasps UK- There are different types of Wasps species everywhere in the global and masses more of hornets, bees and other comparable searching insects. All are an essential a part of the ecosystem as even wasps are treasured pollinators. You can spot a amazing style of them around the UK however no longer all will sting you. There are approximately 9,000 types of wasp in the UK.

It’s crucial to understand the difference types of Wasps species due to the fact everything from their nesting behaviour to how competitive they are differs. In this Pierdom article we going to discuss Wasps UK in detail.

Types of Wasps UK

SpeciesBiological nameSizeAppearanceGeneral Facts
German waspsVespula germanica13mm in sizeTypical yellow and black colouring. Looks like the common wasp but has three black dots on its face.1. Also known as German yellowjacket or European wasp.
2. You can find most German wasp nests in the ground, in attics and only a small part is above ground.
3. German wasps are not great travellers; humans have helped with their distribution around the world.
Common waspsVespula vulgaris 12 to 17mm in size They have a typical yellow and black colouring with dots and rings on the abdomen.1. This species is also known as the European wasp or the common yellow jacket.
2. Adaptive and able to live in a wide variety of habitats.
3. Builds nests inside wall cavities, hollow trees, crevices, and holes but also underground.
Red waspsPolistes carolina25 to 32mm in sizeReddish-brown in colour with, sometimes, brown stripes on the abdomen. Have distinctive black wings.1. Also known as red paper wasps.
2. These wasps build some of the largest nests. They prefer to build them in well-protected areas.
3. Queens are not the largest but rather the first to start the nest.
Norwegian waspsDolichovespula norwegica11 to18mm in sizeHas the distinctive black and yellow colouring1. Being a tree wasp, its favourite places for nesting include low branches of trees and shrubs.
2. Its diet includes flies, other insects, and spiders for the larvae. Adults feed on nectar obtained from snowberry and blueberry flowers.
3. Nests usually die off after mid-August but some can last through the early September.
Tree waspsDolichovespula sylvestris11 to 17mm and size of queens up to 15-19mmHas a typical black and yellow body colouring. You can spot a single black dot in the centre of its face.1. Builds both aerial and underground nests.
2. These wasps are not considered a pest mainly because human food does not attract them.
3. They are far less aggressive than other wasp species but will still attack if you threaten their nest.
Saxon waspsDolichovespula saxonica 11 to 15mm and queen is 15-19 mm in sizeLooks similar to the yellowjacket, with black and yellow stripes, but is larger than other species.1. They make their small and ball-shaped nests above the ground, in shrubs and trees but also in buildings. 
2. Saxon wasps are beneficial pollinators and a natural enemy of insect pests.
3. These wasps spread diseases.
Median waspsDolichovespula media16 to 22mm in sizeYou can recognize the median wasp by its black thorax that has four yellow spots.1. Builds aerial paper nests, mostly under building eaves, in trees, and shrubs.
2. The species prefers humid areas, which is why they build nests out in the open and close to the ground.
3. It’s attracted to sweet foods and will fly near people eating outside.
Beetle Wasps Hoverfly ( not wasp but loo like wasp)9 to 18mm in sizeblack and yellow stripes.1. It is not only harmless but is also an important natural enemy of other pest insects such as aphids. 
2. This fly species gets mistaken for a wasp because of the strikingly similar colouring.
3. It has a single pair of functional wings which are wider than those of a wasp. Wasps have two sets of elongated wings

German Wasps UK

German Wasps are easily identifiable They are black with three dots on their faces. They are also a bit larger than Common wasp , with an average of 12-15mm long, with queens measuring 20mm. They are found everywhere, and are particularly frequent in the ground. As with all social wasps, they are stingy. reactions are different and may be extremely regardless of any previous reactions to the stings.

Common Wasp UK

The Common Wasp UK (Vespula vulgaris) is discovered all through the United Kingdom in nearly all habitats, inclusive of woodland and concrete areas. As the most common UK wasp they’re effortlessly recognized by means of most human beings. Adult employees (constantly ladies) 12-17mm whereas the queen is around 20mm.

The Common Wasp UK could be very much like the German Wasp (Vespula germanica). The key distinction is that Common UK Wasps lack the three black dots on the head and awesome black dots on the returned as they merge with the returned stripes.

Red Wasps UK

The best method to identify these red wasps UK is to look for the reddish/brown markings on the abdominal sections , and also the pattern of black marks. The wasps can be observed in the autumn and summer months, often on flowers.

Red wasps UK are common and often nests in the earth in the UK. It is one of the least aggressive and peaceful wasp species, they generally only sting when they are provoked.

Norwegian Wasps

Norwegian wasp is one of the species of an eusocial wasps UK. It is prevalent throughout Scandinavia as well is also present throughout Britain and in other regions of Ireland and Scotland.

Face is separated by a black vertical bar. The malar (distance between the bottom of the jaw and eye) space is very long. The antennae are yellow at the bottom. The thorax is covered in black hairs on the sides and two yellow spots in the rear.

Tree Wasp

The face of Tree Wasp generally is clear yellow, with one dot. Antennae are yellow at the bottom. Thorax, with hairs at the sides, and two spots of yellow in the rear. The length of the Tree Wasp is 22 millimeters. It is typical to find this wasp in the months of May and September, during its 3.5 month colony cycle.

Saxon Wasps

Saxon Wasps UK are known for their ability to capture insects, but they don’t have the capacity to eat solid food. While originally originated from the continent of Europe Saxon wasps have since colonized UK and is mainly in the east and south. The majority of their nests are high above ground in trees or bushes, but they may also be seen in structures.

Black Wasps UK

A black wasp UK is a large species as its name suggests. The black wasp is mono-colored and is devoid of spots, colored stripes or other visible patterns on its body. Females of this species are around 1-1 1/2 inches and are slightly larger than males.

Median Wasp UK

A different species of European wasps that is spread across the UK and is increasing in frequency. They are often seen in the trees and bushes while foraging among the nests that hang in them, mostly between June until October.

Beetle Wasp

The beetle wasp is tiny, narrow-bodied beetle. The larvae dwell in dry, warm, dead wood such as the fence post and branches that are dead and especially like willow and the birch. Beetle Wasps UK can be seen from May through August i.e late spring through summer. This most common species can be seen in Leicestershire or Rutland area of UK.

Wasps UK Physical Characteristics:


Workers wasp are 12-17mm in length, queens are larger measuring round 20mm in size.

Life span:  

Annual life cycle of all types of wasps is handiest live for a few weeks but the mated Queen will hibernate underground to put her eggs in summer so may additionally live to tell the tale for up to a 12 months. Colonies handiest remaining 365 days and once the brand new queens departs all of the other wasps UK inside the colony die.


Adults predominately feed on nectar, but also look for sugars and carbohydrate food assets ( Honeydew, jam, crisps) whilst larvae are consumed proteins (Other bugs and invertebrates) accrued by using the adults.


A queen will start via building a cylindrical column referred to as a petiole which is blanketed by means of a chemical produced by way of the queen which repels ants. When she’s finished, she produces a single cell and surrounds it with a in addition six cells, giving the cells their feature hexagonal form. She continues building cells in a layer until she has 20-30 then lays an egg in each. Once the eggs have hatched she divides her time between feeding the larvae and nest constructing. 

When to peer: 

April to October. In past due spring, massive wasps can be seen. These are queens who are searching out suitable nest for laying egg. Towards the stop of September the nests are at most capability, with plenty of adults and few larvae. This means that there may be plenty of UK wasps seen. New queens and male drones emerge from the nest. Each colony consists of simplest one queen and after mating in overdue autumn the brand new queens overwinter in holes or different sheltered locations.

Population Trend:



Loss of habitat and food assets for larvae. Conflict with human beings, agricultural intensification consisting of pesticide use.

General Fact:  

Wasps have a sting to allow them to capture and immobilise their prey (which include aphids, caterpillars, flies and spiders). They may additionally sting to shield their nest.

Suitable places for nest constructing consist of deserted mammal holes, cracks in partitions or holes in trees. Wasps nests are made from chewed up timber and wasp saliva which creates a paper-like cloth.

Wasp Reproduction

Wasps have a fascinating social life. A yellowjacket colony is just like that of a honeybee, with a queen supported by a community of workers. Queen wasps only have one mating flight in their lives, but at some point of that time some species mate with numerous males.

They shop the sperm of their stomach and manipulate its release to fertilise the eggs they lay in the course of their lives. Multiple mating means the queen dilutes the relatedness of the employees in her brood and people become rearing a mix of half of- and complete-siblings, which can ruin the social agreement of the colony.

The lifecycle of social wasps UK

1.The queen wasp emerges from hibernation

A unmarried-mated queen emerges from wintry weather hibernation in the early spring. Her employees build a nest in a cavity in the floor or a tree, and only after the nest is fully established will she construct each cellular and lay an egg in it.

2. Her offspring emerge

After approximately 30 days, her first offspring – the workers – end up adults. They’re all woman at this factor. The people takeover the foraging, brood care and nest building and maintenance obligations. The queen will become a live-at-domestic egg-laying machine.

3. Larvae hatch

After a few days carnivorous larvae will hatch from the most up-to-date eggs. The grownup workers deliver bugs again to the nest to feed to the hungry larvae, which offer a sugary reward to the employees, thru a technique called trophallaxis. The larvae develop over multiple weeks earlier than they spin their pupal cap and pupate.

4. The colony grows

Over the following couple of months, the colony will grow, in all likelihood to encompass lots of wasps, relying at the species. Once the colony is huge sufficient, the queen will transfer to laying a sexual brood: those are men and the sexual females able to turning into subsequent 12 month’s queens.

5. Wasps mature and leave the nest

When the sexual brood emerges, they depart the nest to mate after which locate somewhere to hibernate over the iciness (lofts are a famous preference). After this point, the nest has served its motive but the people are nevertheless alive with no brood to feed.

Why does a wasps sting Hurt?

A wasp sting is painful and could normally go away a purple mark that could look infected and go away a welt. You might be capable of see a small puncture mark at the edge website. To treat the edge, lightly wash the wound with easy water after which apply a small amount of antiseptic or bite cream.

Try to avoid scratching the chunk and it should heal fast. Some human beings can expand a pores and skin reaction to a sting which can cause pores and skin redness and swelling but should ease in a couple of days.

What do wasps UK Eat?

Adult wasps don’t eat the prey they kill – they feed it to their younger. Social species seize bugs, chop them up and bring components again to the nest. Some solitary species are greater sinister. For example, most spider wasps paralyse arachnid prey using a venomous sting.

Their larvae then eat the victim alive. There are nearly 5,000 species of spider wasp worldwide, which includes 44 species in Britain.  A commonplace wasp (Vespula vulgaris) captures a horsefly, which it’s going to cut up and feed to its larvae instead of eating bugs and spiders.

Why do wasps sting?

Wasps use their venomous sting to subdue prey and shield their nest. They also use it to shield themselves. Wasps occasionally sting us as they see us as a likely danger, even though we do not surely pose one. Unlike honey bees, wasps do not lose out by stinging us.

Honey bees sacrifice their lives as their stings have a hard and fast of tiny barbs that hook into the pores and skin. Honey bees have weak attachments of their abdomen. So whilst it pulls away the sting remains connected to you and it essentially pulls away the complete muscle device around the sting.

Where do UK wasps go in winter?

The lives of wasps inside the UK are dictated by the seasons. They want big amounts of bugs to feed their younger, so are most effective energetic in the warmer months, whilst food is without difficulty to be had.

The employee wasps of social species die off late in autumn, at the same time as recently emerged girls hibernate. They spend the bloodless months in sheltered areas including lofts and animal burrows.

How do wasps help Wild Life?

As predators, they’re at the top of the meals chain and without them food webs would spoil down. They assist to preserve different invertebrate populations, such as spiders, woodlice, and insects, in check.

They consume the maximum ample pests that we try to control with toxic chemicals. This is how a great deal wasps eat a single colony in concept to get rid of zero pest.

What is the Differences between wasps, bees and hornets


You can distinguish honey bees and bumblebees through their spherical bodies blanketed with hairs. Their colouration isn’t always that vibrant black with golden stripes. Bees’ eyes cover lots of the surface in their faces and they have a hard and fast of 3 simple eyes above their ordinary ones.


Unlike bees, wasps aren’t fuzzy. Some species have tiny hairs however they are now not as glaring as in bees. You can distinguish a wasp via its hanging black and yellow stripes and barely more elongated bodies. Each wasp species has its own function body markings which you can spot best up close.


The biggest of all 2 , hornets have a reddish-brown thorax, C-fashioned eyes and a striped stomach. Hornets, rather than wasps, have masses of tiny hairs but no longer nearly as much as bees have.

Types of Wasps UK Conclusion

Most human beings recollect wasps to be baddies however they do additionally play tremendous roles in the atmosphere. They effect a exceptional variety of human sports and have an effect on the ecology in lots of ways.

While no longer to the volume of bees, some UK wasps are also powerful pollinators. Their approach of pollination, but, are barely different than the bees’. While the latter use their hairy bodies to acquire and spread pollen, wasps use the vegetation in their our bodies to store and shipping pollen.

Types of UK Wasps FAQs

Q1. What are the most common types of wasps in the UK?

The most common types of wasps in the UK is yellowjacket and biological name is Vespula vulgaris.

Q2. How can identify the different types of Wasps UK?

The different types of Wasp can be identified by yellow and black stripes and also with the sizes.

Q3. Where Wasps go at night?

All different types of Wasps don’t fly at night they stay in their nest during night time.

Q4. What is the biggest wasp in the UK?

In all types of Wasp the biggest Wasp is Hornet Vespa Crabro size up to 35mm and it has chestnut-brown and yellowy-orange stripes.

Q5. What is the difference between a wasp and a hornet ?

The Hornets are much larger and round and less common than wasps while Wasp are small with elongated bodies and common in everywhere.