Facts about wasps external image ab13.gif wasp.GIF

• There are two types of wasp commonly found in the UK, the Common Wasp and the German Wasp.

• The queens hibernate during the winter, in buildings or under the bark of trees.

• In spring the queens look for nesting sites such a hole in the ground, a hollow tree or in spaces within the eaves of a building, lofts, attics and garden sheds etc.

• The queen will build her nest with a papery material that she makes by chewing small pieces of wood mixed with saliva.

• In the nest she will raise a few workers and these will start to enlarge the nest and help to rear the next generation of wasps. Nest construction starts in earnest in June and will usually reach it’s maximum in size in September.

• Worker wasps will look for food up to 400 metres from the nest. Workers feed mainly on sugary materials such as nectar.

• The size of wasp colonies will vary from year to year, but at its maximum nests may contain between 5 – 10,000 wasps.

• In the Autumn, the young queens mate and leave the nest to hibernate, the rest of the nest dies out and the nest is never used again.

Wasp stings external image ab10.gif

Individuals react differently to being stung by wasps; some are hardly affected, others suffer considerable pain and swelling. A few people are seriously allergic to wasp stings and in some cases it can result in sudden death due to anaphylactic shock.

The pain of the wasp sting is caused by a toxic fluid containing a complex protein, which is injected through the needle like sting as it penetrates the victim.