Pest Guides

Social Wasps

Family: Vespidae, e.g. Vespula vulgaris


Social Wasp
  • Social wasps have yellow and black abdomens. Markings will differ according to species. They have two sets of wings (the hind wings being smaller than the fore wings).
  • Their eyes are kidney shaped and their bodies are more pointed than bees, with a noticeable waist.
  • Social wasps tend to be less hairy than bees.
  • These wasps have long distinctive stingers.


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


  • Colony size: medium to large (up to as many as 25,000 individuals).
  • Preferred wasp nest sites: lofts, wall cavities, old rodent burrows, hollow trees and bushes.
  • Nest construction: pulped wood (paper). Combs are set horizontally. A new wasp nest is produced each year.
  • Swarming: Social wasps do not swarm.
  • Food preferences: Social wasps will consume insects and sweet foods.
  • Social wasp stings readily and repeatedly.

Wasp swarms are dangerous. If in doubt, seek professional help to get rid of wasps. Email us if you would like further advice on wasp nest removal.