(Vespula vulgaris)
Common Wasp


Temperate species forming nests in soil banks, roof spaces, wall cavities and trees. Nests formed of paper (chewed wood) and may become very large. Colonies only survive one season in the UK, new ones started each spring by overwintered queens. They will Forage on a wide range of foods including insects, spiders and sweet substances. Can be very aggressive.


Egg - larva - pupa - adult. Eggs - many 1000's laid by queen in hexagonal cells throughout spring and summer. Larvae - legless grubs within cells fed by workers on chewed insects, spiders. Develop in 4 weeks. Pupae - develop in about 2 weeks within cell. Adults - workers winged 10-20mm long, distinctive black and yellow coloration. Queen winged, similar coloration but larger.


Nuisance, potentially more serious if nest in close proximity or within buildings. Widely feared for ability to sting which is painful and, very rarely, lethal. Potential disease transmission.


Application of residual insecticide directly into the nest. Only to be undertaken by qualified technicians.

Interesting facts

Only female wasps have a stinger where males do not. A wasps nest can contain between 5,000 to 10,000 wasps. When a wasp dies it releases a scent that alerts other wasps of danger.