Species: German Wasp (Vespula germanica)

Family: Wasps (VESPIDAE)

Category: Insects (Other)

Location: Widespread

A. Insects (Other)

More extensive information on insects can be found in a separate blog post.


Wasps have a slender, smooth body, and legs with relatively few hairs. Some are social and some solitary. In social wasps’ nests there is one breeding female only, the queen. Hornets are the largest of the social wasps, usually building papery nests in hollow trees. Despite their large size, they are not particularly aggressive, and should just be left alone. They are mostly brown and yellow, whereas most wasps are black and yellow. Wasps have biting mouthparts and antennae with 12 or 13 segments. They are normally winged. Unlike bees, wasps have pointed lower abdomens, and a narrow ‘waist’ separating the abdomen from the thorax. They are generally predatory or parasitic, and their stingers have few barbs, making them easy to pull out of victims so they can sting again. As key predators of other invertebrates they are extremely important in maintaining a balanced ecosystem.

The large Vespidae family includes nearly all the social wasp species.

C. German Wasp (Vespula germanica)

The German Wasp is very similar to the Common Wasp, although it is slightly larger. Several features distinguish this wasp from the more common one, notably a solid band of yellow immediately behind each eye.

These wasps are common throughout Britain, especially in the south, and can be found in most habitats throughout the summer months.


German Wasp

This photograph shows a worker Vespula germanica.