Vespula germanica (German Wasp)
One of our most abundant social wasps, occurring in a wide range of habitats including highly urbanised settings. Greatest abundance is usually attained in warm locations such as sheltered areas of downland, coastal grassland and post-industrial sites. Nesting occurs in cavities, especially underground within enlargened old rodent burrows, but also in hollow trees, sheds, attics and airbricks. Some nests can attain massive size with thousands of workers, and remain active well into winter.

Queens are especially distinctive with the black abdominal bands produced into large backward-directed triangles with black circles on each side. The face can have three spots or a median bar and two spots, but never the anchor-like markings of V. vulgaris. The yellow humeral stripe in front of the wings bases tends to become broader in the middle rather than parallel-sided as in V. vulgaris.

The abdominal markings of males and workers are more variable than queens and these castes are sometime difficult to separate from those of V. vulgaris, though they appear brighter yellow in the field. Head and face markings (workers) or genitalia (males) will confirm.

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