Vespula germanica

Common name(s): German wasp, German yellowjacket

This, along with its near relative Vespula vulgaris, is one of the most widespread and best-known wasps, with a very wide distribution in North America, Europe and even parts of Asia. It has been introduced to foreign lands such as Australia and New Zealand, and has considerable pest value in such places.

Photo copyright and courtesy of Christophe Barthelemy.

Vespula germanica usually nests underground. It has adapted very well to living near people and often nests underground in gardens and lawns. Colonies reach extremely large sizes, with thousands or even tens of thousands of wasps in a single nest. It will also readily use crevices in buildings, where it becomes a serious problem due to its highly defensive nature and the difficulty in removing such nests. Furthermore, Vespula germanica is one of the most common species around garbage dumps and outdoor gatherings.

The photo below shows an aerial nest of this species. This is not typical, for most Vespula usually nest in concealed locations. Photo copyright and courtesy of Jean-Luc Renneson.