Like bees, wasps are a type of insect that forms colonies. These insects have a common structure since there is a queen that reigns over all of them, leaving them certain chores as to collect food and pollinate flowers.
When we talk about wasps, we are not referring to one in particular since they come in multiple types and their aggressiveness, behaviour, and everything changes according to that, so it is better to get to know them first.
German Wasp (Vespula germanica)
This one shares its throne as one of the most common but cannot compete with the Vespula Vulgaris. They can grow up to 13 mm and have their legs and body covered in yellow and black stripes. It looks similar to the common wasp, but it has three black dots in its head that can set it apart from other species.
This type of wasps can be very dangerous, even with wildlife that has stepped into their territory. Humans need to be cautious when they are around them as they can attack pretty quickly and very aggressively. Always remember to check the grounds around you and inside your house as they can set up their nests in attics, although only a part of it is grounded. In terms of their diet, once they have found a source of food, they can go and get it again as many times as possible.
In the winter things can be rough to their nests if they are not as protected since low temperatures can make them die off. If a nest is well-built, it can recover and not die.
Common Wasp (Vespula Vulgaris)
You can find this one the most annoying type of British wasps. It can bother you while you are having a picnic, but it is not as aggressive as the German one. Their appearance is also pretty similar, being the male almost identical to the naked eye, while the females have a few differences. Their dots now transform into different shapes like a dagger or an anchor. They can also be bigger than the germanica as they can grow up to the 17 mm of length and their queen can reach the 20 mm.
The behaviour of this wasp is pretty normal, and not as aggressive as other types. There is something unique that represents them, and it’s their adaptability to the place where they live as habitats can vary among them. Furthermore, their nests can be found in different places as cavities made by rodents or any kind of animal, inside hollow trees or holes, even though they can be found underground.
Although they create nests that are smaller than the germanica ones, they do not survive the winter as it is not prepared for those kinds of temperatures. This nest can hold up to 10.000 individuals in most cases.
Red Wasp (Polistes Carolina)
From all the types of British wasps, this one is unique in terms of appearance. You can spot them pretty easily since they are big in terms of size. They go around 18 mm to almost 30 mm. Their colour is very singular since they have black wings and are a reddish- brown coloured. Often with red stripes along their abdomen. They dislike sweet things as much as others so if you want to lure them in a trap these might not work.
It is important to say that they are very well skilled when building their nests. They are umbrella shaped, and like them to be in protected areas, so nothing can disturb them or the nest. It is pretty common to hear it being called the paper wasp, this is because they tend to use materials like paper, so they can build their nests, which normally are in rural areas.
Their diet is varied as they can go from sugary foods like nectar, up to different insects as larvae, cicadas, and caterpillars. They rely on their stings to get their prey, and they can be very painful.
Tree Wasps (Dolichovespula sylvestris)
It is said this is the only wasp that is not considered as a pest since they do not have a lot of interest for human food, so they do not usually go around houses. Their main focus is to build nests, with a singularity that distinguish them from the rest, as they can be aerial and underground, but attached to an overhanging structure. These British wasps build their nests on tree branches, rocks, or even grass stem.
Their behaviour is different from other wasps since they are not really aggressive towards wildlife or humans. You will get a sting or two if you get near them, though. They look similar to other wasps but the feature that distinguish them is the brownish colour of their wings.
Norwegian Wasps (Dolichovespula norwegica)
They are the smallest species of wasps around Britain. Their queen is the one that goes up to 18 mm long. Yellow and black are the colours that represent them, however, red can be found in the front part of their abdomen.
This species can be found in the rural areas of the UK, and their nest can be seen in trees, house walls, shrubs, and other enclosed areas where the nest can be protected. Their diet consists of different insects like spiders, and the most important thing is the nectar they get from flowers.
These are some types of British wasps that exist. Remember that not all of them are friendly and if you need to get rid of them you can call a pest service to remove them from your premises.