Wasp nest life cycle; Common wasp & German wasp.

common wasp nest built in suit jacket

Common Wasp; Vespa Vulgaris

The two types of wasp that are found in the UK are the common wasp (Vespa Vulgaris) which is found in much of the northern hemisphere. The common wasp nest is built from chewed wood to create a kind of Paper Mache, which is strong and lightweight. The common wasp nest is normally built in buildings, hollow trees, just about anywhere that is dry. Often they take over old rabbit and rodent burrows and the nests are built underground.

The common wasp (nicknamed “Jaspers”) is about 17-20mm long. Queen wasps emerge from hibernation in the spring having over wintered somewhere dry and protected from the winter elements (often in lofts and sheds). The queen finds a suitable location to start a new nest (often people think wasps re-use old nests, but this is not the case) using wood fibres chewed and mixed with saliva she starts to build her nest.

We charge a flat fee of £40.00 to treat a Wasp or Hornet nest regardless of its location.
We have no hidden extra charges such as VAT or for unnecessary surveys.
Any secondary nests found on your property we charge an additional £10.00 per nest if treated on the day of the original call out.
All work is guaranteed.
Payment required on completion of work.
We work WEEKENDS too! So if you have found a nest whilst out in your garden and it is a Saturday or Sunday, don't worry, just give us a call and we will come straight out.

Please be sure you have identified the species before calling us. If you are unsure, please text us a clear photo and we will be happy to help identify. Or call us and we will talk it over with you.

Please do not call us out for bees, we do NOT treat any bee species.

Please be aware, if we are called out for bees there will be a call out fee.

Video of queen wasp stripping wood to make her nest.

We are pleased to be able bring you some new videos this summer to show you how a queen wasp starts her nest and how the nest develops over the beginning of the summer.

The first video shows how a queen wasp (in this case a common wasp) chews wood from a post to take back to build her nest.

The start of a wasp nest is done by just one wasp, the queen.
Queen wasps spend all winter asleep in hibernation. The following photo is a live queen wasp in hibernation.
Queen wasp hibernating

After waking from hibernation in spring, the first thing a queen wasp must do is feed. Adult wasps can only feed on nectar type liquid foods. Queen wasps and the first worker wasps of the season do a lot of flower pollinating as they top up on energy giving nectar.

The wasp nest starts off with 5-10 cells before the main egg laying starts. The queen creates a single cell at the end of a petiole; six more cells are then added around this to create the hexagonal shape of the nest cells.

Wasp larvae are fed on insect prey. You can watch our video of a worker wasp disecting a honey bee which it will carry back to its nest to feed to the larvae.

An inside view of a wasp nest
Inside view of a wasp nest

What does the inside of a wasp nest look like

Once the eggs have hatched they become worker wasps and take up most of the day to day tasks of nest maintenance, from foraging for food, brood care of young wasp larvae, nest building and water collection.
As you can see from the following photos, the nest is quite a complicated but efficient structure, but is very delicate and needs daily attention to keep the nest in top condition.

Interior structure of a wasp nest

The following picture illustrates how the wasp larvae are contained within the brood cells, when ready they spin a silk cap over the top of the cell, ready to pupate into adult wasps.

Wasp larvae contained within brood cells

The following picture shows the different stages of the development of a wasp's life. The queen lays an egg, which grows into a small larva, the larvae grows to full size when it then pupates into an adult worker wasp.

Wasp lifcycle, the different stages of a wasps life

The last image shows how the nest is layered, also in its proper orientation (cells pointing downwards).

Layers of a wasp nest

Each wasp nest or colony includes one queen and the rest are sterile worker wasps. At the end of the summer, new queens and fertile male drones are produced and after mating these new queens hibernate through the winter ready to start a new nest and colony the following spring.

German Wasps; Vespula Germanica

The second type of wasp that is commonly found in the UK is the German wasp (Vespula Germanica) or also known as the European wasp (not some 'Mutant Euro Wasp' that is going to take over the world).
The German wasp nest is built much the same way as the common wasp nest, but instead of building their nests in the ground or in buildings, the German wasp nest is generally found close to the ground or in bushes and trees. The nest structure is the same as the common wasp nest.

German wasp nest in bush

The life cycle is the same as the common wasp, with one queen and sterile worker wasps taking care of daily duties such as nest building, repair and foraging for food.
The European wasp is slightly larger than the common wasp and collects a variety of insects to feed its larvae. The adult wasps feed on nectar and sweet fruits. The adults main food source is a regurgitated form of sugar from their larvae.
Adults feed insects prey to the their larvea which turn the chitin (insect shells) into a sugary substance which they feed back to their adults
Once the nests have produced new queens (the last batch of larvea) they switch to 'sweet feeding' (because there are no more larvea to feed from) and are often found harassing people in pub gardens later in the summer months.
Once sweet feeding starts, the quality of the sugar in the wasps diet drops considerably and they are searching hard for enough energy to keep flying, hence the annoying persistant harrasment from them. Wasps do not get drunk from fermenting foods, it is a lack of energy from poor food sources.

Median Wasps

Median wasps, similar to common wasps are much less numerous. The nest looks similar to a common wasp nest, but has a tube like entrance at the bottom.

How many wasps are there in a nest?

Common wasps can produce nests that by the end of the summer (August/September) can reach a population of up to 5,000 or more occupants per nest.
The German wasps produce nests that can hold up to 1000 individual wasps.
Please take a look at our page: how can I tell that I have a wasp nest?