Common Wasp from England

Subject: bug identification
Location: Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England
February 8, 2016 5:32 am
Please could you take a look at the attached picture of an insect which was in my friends house and identify it for her please? Apparent his is the second one she has had. It looks like some sort of bee to me but I’m not sure.
Signature: Nicola Bailey-Berry

Common Wasp
Common Wasp

Dear Nicola,
Today we learned that insects known as Yellow Jackets in North America are called Common Wasps in England.  We identified your Common Wasp,
Vespula vulgaris, thanks to the iSpot site where it states:  ” The common wasp usually forms large colonies below ground, but occasionally nests may be made in wall cavities, hollow trees and attics. Queens emerge from hibernation during the spring, and they search for a suitable location in which to start a new colony. She then begins to build the nest with chewed up wood pulp, which dries to make a papery substance. A few eggs are laid, which develop into non-reproductive workers. These workers eventually take over the care of the nest, and the queen’s life is then devoted solely to egg laying. At the end of autumn a number of eggs develop into new queens and males, which leave the nest and mate. The new queens seek out suitable places in which to hibernate, and the males and the old colony (including the old queen) die.”  We suspect the individual found by your friend is a hibernating queen that will soon begin to construct her own nest when the weather warms.  North American Yellow Jackets, and we suspect your Common Wasp as well, are not normally aggressive, though they will defend the nest by stinging any perceived or actual threats.  Getty Images has a nice image of a nest of Common Wasps.

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