WASP SPECIES

Recognise wasp species

Wasps are among the oldest “cultural successors” of humans and are widespread all over the world. They contribute to maintaining the ecological balance and are also very important as pollinators. Here you can find out more about their way of life.

Caution: As soon as they feel threatened, wasps are very prone to sting and can sting several times.

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Common wasp and German wasp: what makes them?

  • There are only two species of wasp for humans that can be described as annoying and sometimes dangerous: the common wasp and the German wasp. This is because they annoy us outside and inside, pounce on our food, drink, especially if they are sugary, and quickly ruin the idyll and spoil the good mood. So it’s good that the other wasp species do not behave like that and pose no danger to humans or animals.
  • What attracts wasps to our food and drink? Wasps are omnivores, but they are particularly fond of foods rich in sugar and protein. Protein is essential for wasps to feed their brood.
  • The wasp problem usually peaks in August, when the wasp population is most significant. At this point, the wasps no longer have to look after their offspring and are only in constant search of food.

 

German wasp

(Paravespula germanica)

German wasp

Look

  • The queens of the German wasps reach a size of approx. 20 mm. On the other hand, the workers only grow to about 12-16 mm and the drones 13-17 mm.
  • They have a bright yellow-black abdomen.
  • German wasps have one or three black dots on their yellow head shield.

Reproduction

  • Wasps are annual colony-forming insects.
  • After wintering, the young queens come out in spring to build nests and lay eggs.
  • The workers hatch in early summer and continue building their nests. Then the queens lay more eggs.
  • The regrown queens and males of the wasps mate in autumn.
  • The wasp nest with the males and workers dies in winter. Only the young queens of wasps survive until next spring.

Way of life

  • Up to 7,000 wasps live in a wasp colony.
  • Dark cavities such as attics, roller shutter boxes and abandoned mouse and mole passageways are predominantly used as nesting cakes.
  • Wasps use wood and bark to build their nests (hence the wasps’ nests’ marbled appearance). The wasp nest can reach a circumference of up to 2 m.
  • German wasps feed on flies, mosquitoes, caterpillars and sweet juices or fruit.

 

Common wasp

(Paravespula vulgaris)

Common wasp

Look

  • The queens of the common wasps reach a size of about 20 mm. On the other hand, the workers grow to around 14 mm and the drones up to 18 mm.
  • Wasps are characterised by a bright yellow-black abdomen.
  • In contrast to the German wasps, their forehead plate is marked by a broad, downwardly thick black line (anchor-shaped).

Reproduction

  • The young queens of wasps overwinter and come out in spring to build their nests and lay eggs.
  • The workers (sterile females) hatch in early summer and continue building their queens’ nests. Then the queens lay more eggs.
  • The regrown queens and males of the wasps mate in early autumn.
  • Males and workers die in winter. The wasp queens overwinter in safe hiding places. The nest will not be used again.

Way of life

  • A wasp colony produces up to 25,000 wasps throughout the summer.
  • Attics, cavities, abandoned rodent passages, hollowed-out tree trunks and bushes are preferred as nesting sites.
  • Wasps use shredded wood (paper) to build their nests. The honeycombs lie horizontally in it. A new nest is made every year.
  • Common wasps do not swarm out.
  • They feed on insects, spiders, nectar, rotting fruits, the sap of injured trees, and similar sugary substances.

 

Honey bee

(Apis Mellifera)

According to the Federal Nature Conservation Act, bees and bee nests may not be removed without further ado, as they are subject to species protection. Resettlements or combats may only be carried out in justified exceptional cases (emergencies, threatening situations) with the appropriate exception permit.

honey-bee

Look

  • The size of the queens is around 16 to 20 mm, the drones reach a body length of 13 to 16 mm, and the workers are between 11 and 13 mm tall.
  • The honey bee is dark brown (the abdomen is ringed yellow-black). She has a hairy body.
  • Your abdomen segments have light-coloured felt bandages. The queen’s abdomen is greatly elongated.
  • The queens, as well as the workers of the honeybee, have a poisonous sting.

Reproduction

  • Preferred nest-building areas for honeybees are hollowed-out tree trunks, attics or cladding of walls.
  • The nest (beehive) consists of a vertical wax honeycomb structure, which the workers form from the wax that they excrete on the abdomen.
  • During the flight time (May to July), the queen lays around 1,500 eggs a day in the honeycombs.
  • Several hundred drones hatch from the unfertilised eggs. Then new queens hatch. They fight each other until there is only one queen left. These and the drones then swarm out for the wedding flight.
  • The beehives are permanently inhabited by a swarm of bees (often more than 30,000 bees).

Way of life

  • The honey bee swarms out in spring and early summer.
  • Their diet is purely vegetarian (pollen and nectar). The honey collectors are the workers who take the nectar from the flowers with their mouthparts, convert it into honey and store it in the honeycombs in the beehive.
  • Honey bee colonies can overwinter in their territory. In doing so, they feed on the honey stores that were built up in summer.
  • Honey bees can only sting once with their venomous sting and then usually die because the poisonous bladder on the sting is torn out of the bee’s body.