Black Wasps

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SteveJ 

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Just spotted these in the garden are they still the common wasp or are they sub / different species? Staying away from the beehive more interested in the plum trees.

They appear to be twice the size of a normal wasp. The first attachment is the black wasp the second is the normal wasp.

SteveJ
 

kazmcc 

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That is horrendous!!! Could it be a queen wasp? Do wasps have queens?
 

plumberman 

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Yes they do, but she won't be outside of the nest at this time of year.
 

SteveJ 

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Not a Queen wasp there are loads all over the plum tree.

SteveJ
 

PaleoPerson 

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Looks like a Hornet of Vespula sp. but depends on location. Are you in the UK? as most of this type are American.
 

Hivemaker. 

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Loads of these black wasps around the sw as well....they are around 15 mm long, first time iv'e seen them around this year,.........also no shortage of hornets.
 

RoofTops 

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Well spotted kazmcc. There are about 8 species of black and yellow wasps in the UK, not including the hornet and they are usually very difficult to tell apart but this ones seems pretty distinctive as there is a figure "7" in yellow on the shoulder of this species (median wasp) which you can just see in the topmost piccy. It is reversed on the right shoulder and the right way round on the left.
 

alex 

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looks to me like a 'field digger wasp' [mellinus arvensis] http://www.talktalk.co.uk/reference/encyclopaedia/wildlife/insects_field_digger_wasp.html
These are good guys, so far as I know - they catch flies and paralyse them, then store them in the nest for the brood to devour when they emerge. They're common in southern UK, especially sandy soil areas where they can burrow down easily. I could be wrong, but I don't imagine they'd bother a honey bee at all, unless there was a dramatic dearth of flies locally!
 
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kazmcc 

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Well spotted kazmcc. There are about 8 species of black and yellow wasps in the UK, not including the hornet and they are usually very difficult to tell apart but this ones seems pretty distinctive as there is a figure "7" in yellow on the shoulder of this species which you can just see in the topmost piccy. It is reversed on the right shoulder and the right way round on the left.
Thanks Rooftops, just googled big black uk wasps and trawled through.....made me feel dirty though, ( shudder ) lol
 

starflex 

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Loads of these black wasps around the sw as well....they are around 15 mm long, first time iv'e seen them around this year,.........also no shortage of hornets.
No shortage of hornets around Andover. I took a look in one of my "apple and bramble jam" traps, and picked out a few that looked the part. I have several sited around my hives.

The big one is (I think) a European hornet, and there is one that looks a bit like the "black wasp"; many more types than I thought I had in the back garden.
 

kazmcc 

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looks to me like a 'field digger wasp' [mellinus arvensis] http://www.talktalk.co.uk/reference/encyclopaedia/wildlife/insects_field_digger_wasp.html
These are good guys, so far as I know - they catch flies and paralyse them, then store them in the nest for the brood to devour when they emerge. They're common in southern UK, especially sandy soil areas where they can burrow down easily. I could be wrong, but I don't imagine they'd bother a honey bee at all, unless there was a dramatic dearth of flies locally!
I was going off the bands on the abdomen, they are a lot broader on the black, and the yellow was more dusky. The bands on the field digger are too distinct, and even. The yellow too bright to me.........I may be wrong. Oh, and what about the shoulder markings?

Sound like interesting creatures though, imagine being a fly stuck in their nest? Yikes!! lol
 

Rollo P 

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The dark wasp is the Median Wasp - Dolichovespula media.
A relatively new species to the UK but established for a few years in the South East. It is larger than the Common Wasp but much less agressive. Its nests are quite large, but is mostly insulation as numbers in the colony do no correspond to the nest size. It would appear to be moving North to find relativley cooler condtions from its normal range on the continent.
On appearing at a BBQ or similar occasion, when shooed away, the Median Wasp goes away, unlike the Common Wasp which comes back and starts an arguement.
On the subject of wasp traps, I find that a milk bottle with a few inches of sugar syrup in them, placed on top of a beehive, will collect hundreds of wasps but never a honey bee.
 

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