Wasp FAQS

Frequently asked questions about wasps

Below are a number of FAQs about wasps.  Please note the answers mostly will relate to our most common species.

 

Are bees related to wasps?  What’s the connection between wasps and bees?
Both bees and wasps belong to the insect order, hymenoptera.   Bees are believed to be descended from wasps.

 

What is the point of wasps?
Wasps are helpful pollinators, they control ‘crop pests’  and (with some species) their nests may provide homes for other beneficial insects!  Read more here.

 

Where do wasps build nests?
It depends on the type of wasp, but most commonly they may be found hanging from structures such as a branch or fascia of a building, or they may be in the ground.  Wasps may also nest in compost heaps.  Learn more about wasp nests.

 

Where do wasps hibernate?
Single queens may find protected shelter in a variety of places, from crevices in walls and trees, to a sheltered spot in the roof of the garden shed.  We have found sleepy common wasp queens hibernating in the attic of our house.  Read about the life cycle of wasps.

 

Where do wasps go in winter?
In social wasps, commonly the whole colony will die, and only the queens will hibernate (see above).  There may be some differences in various parts of the world.

Which trees attract wasps?
Whether or not a tree will attract wasps will partly depend on the stage of the wasp colony and the range of plants and trees available upon which the wasps can forage.  I have seen wasps foraging on cotoneaster flowers.
Soft fruits such as plums attract wasps especially later in the season.

 

Which wasps have the worst sting and which wasps are aggressive?
German wasps and the common wasp can become agitated if they feel under threat.  They are important pest controllers and pollinators, so try to repel or deter wasps – see these tips on repelling wasps and avoiding stings.  There are various treatments for stings.  Various wasps are becoming increasingly important for farmers to assist in controlling crop pests.



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Remove wasps without killing them

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Not many people like wasps, but they have an important role in the ecosystem!

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Bees, Wasps, and Ants: The Indispensable Role of Hymenoptera in Gardens


"Few insects are more important than bees, wasps, and ants. They maintain the garden’s biological balance, fertilize vegetables, fruits, and flowers, and recycle nutrients within the soil. It’s no exaggeration to say that a garden can’t be understood without an understanding of its insects."