The common wasp measures about 1.6cm long and have a yellow/black body colour. Two species of wasp are found locally – ‘common wasps’ and ‘German wasps’ – both are known for their sting.
Wasps are beneficial to the environment as they control other small pests and clear away dead insects, but when they stray too close to human habitats they can be a dangerous nuisance and must be controlled.
Wasps live in colonies that form self-contained communities, each following a caste order of queens, males and workers. The only wasps that survive the winter are young fertilised queens. They emerge from hibernation in the spring to build new nests.
Initially the queen lays 10-20 eggs and when they hatch into larvae she feeds them until they become workers. The workers then forage for food, feed the new larvae and defend the nest. By the end of the season a nest may contain thousands of these workers.
In late summer, the colony produces males and new queens. They fly away to mate and the queens then find a place to hibernate. The cold weather eventually kills the males, workers and foundation queen.