Wasps !

Don’t be alarmed but I am becoming very interested in social wasps.

They are beautiful and distinctive but I am not finding them overly easy to identify. Part of the problem is that two individuals of the same species can have quite different markings.

I think that the animal in the header picture is a Tree Wasp, Dolichovespula sylvestris but I am struggling to get positive confirmation of that so either it isn’t or my pictures don’t carry enough detail. I think that there is only one way to learn and that is to keep at it so expect more wasps on this blog.

Here is one that I can Identify. This is a Common Wasp, Vespula vulgaris. Wasps have distinctive patterns on their faces and this one is often referred to as an “Anchor mark”

Common Wasp

Common WaspGenerally identification is a matter of looking at the markings on the face and those on the thorax. The stripes on the abdomen seem to vary a lot even within the same species.

Common Wasp

Common WaspThe Common Wasp is a Vespula Wasp they have short round faces. This next one is a Dolichovespula Wasp sometime referred to as long faced Wasps.

This is a Saxon Wasp, Dolichovespula saxonica.

Saxon Wasp

Saxon Wasp

Saxon Wasp

Saxon WaspI realise that to most people it is enough to be able to recognise that it is a wasp. Eeek! If it stings you who cares what species it is? I need to learn from the animals that I photograph, that is the only reason that I take pictures so I need to know the species.

I would love to tell you that Wasps don’t sting. In fifteen years of crawling around in the bushes photographing flowers and insects I have never been stung by a Bee or a Wasp. I know that I am just lucky but I really don’t think that they are as bad as they are made out.

These animals are just going about their business and if you don’t bother them they don’t really bother you. Horse Flies and Mosquito’s are another matter, they hunt us and quite deliberately attack us but Bees and Wasps are okay in my book.

I am a bit disappointed that I couldn’t get a positive ID on my Tree Wasp but okay I am just going to go out and photograph another one and try again.

Tree Wasp

9 thoughts on “Wasps !”

  1. I’m not too keen on social wasps as they prey on bees and Monarch caterpillars here and are becoming a real menace in our Beech forests. I have been stung by a wasp and assure you it was very painful! The small solitary and native wasps are not a problem, and in fact are useful in the garden. I love bees, even though I am allergic to bee stings.


  2. Your photos are so good I almost forget the subject. I can get this close and personal with spiders, but I can’t make the leap for wasps. I’m glad you can, so I can still see them close up. Thanks for the research and identification, too.


  3. I’d rather take my chances with a Viper than a Vespa. I’ve a great level of trust with Bees, but I have been stung by wasps. Not nice, they are gifted at ruining picnics, or Al Fresco dining in the back garden.


  4. I’ve been stung by wasps and it’s a powerful thing: feels like a jolt of electricity must feel. And the sting sites get sore. Be careful not to make any angry or scared so you can keep your good record of not being stung. These are gorgeous photos, as are all of yours!


  5. I also spend a lot of time in nature & never been bitten. Some animals are drawn to certain course so maybe they don’t fancy tour tramp clothes. When camping in summer I used to have a yellow cloth to put at a distance. Midges etc went to it & left me alone


  6. I have been stung many times by wasps and bees but not in the last two years (touch wood and hope I won’t be now). We have a wasps’ nest in the garage roof and I have no idea what they are. I can’t get one to keep still for long enough to photograph and even if I could I don’t know enough about them. If I can get a photo I may ask you to help me ID it if that is o.k.? They are smaller than common wasps. Your photos are beautiful.


  7. I agree that wasps and hornets are handsome it their yellow and black jackets, but I can’t tolerate them around the areas I frequent esp. in August when they are ‘guarding’ a nest. If I inadvertently step into a 1 meter circle of their (often hidden) nest, I get stung! Over the years, I’ve been stung so often, that I strike as soon as I notice the first paper cells being built. Deck, porch, stone walls – they love them! I have family who are allergic to stings and cannot risk their anaphylactic shock, so I insist they build elsewhere!
    Out in the fields they are awesome pollinators and many species prey on insects, so they are good friends ‘out there’! 🙂


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