Length 10-18 mm. Similar to the German Wasp (Vespula germanica) which has has three black spots on its face and forms a triangle, where as the Common Wasp has an anchor-shaped mark on its face. It has bright yellow and black bands running down its body, and four large yellow spots at the rear of its thorax.
The nest is made from chewed wood and is paper-like. It is constructed underground, in tree hollows, or in sheds and attics and is yellowish in colour. The adults hunt for other insects, most often caterpillars, to feed their larvae. The adults feed on nectar.
Seen April to October. Found in various habitats wherever there is suitable prey, including woodland, parkland and gardens. A common and widespread species throughout Britain.
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps & Sawflies)
Family Vespidae (Social Wasps)
Species Vespula vulgaris (Linnaeus, 1758)
Photos: Back garden, South Staffordshire. © Peter Hillman