Both these wasps are Common throughout Britain and Europe.
The queen wasp emerges from hibernation around mid April, where she then searches for a suitable place to build her initial cell to start her colony. Once the cell has been built. ( size of a small golf ball ) From chewed bark and dried timber mixed with her salvia. She then begins the process of laying her eggs. In each individual chamber within the cell, she will lay around 10 to 20 eggs. When the larvae hatches, they are fed on a high protein diet of insects and other invertebrates. The first adult workers to emerge which are sterile females, take the job over from the queen, enlarging the nest and providing food, for eggs laid by the queen. The queen lays many eggs throughout the summer period, so by late summer a normal wasps nest can contain in the region of 3000 to 5000 wasps. Wasps in the earlier part of the year, are too busy to be a nuisance. They are collecting insects on the wing to feed to the larvae. They will go to extraordinary lengths to provide food for the larvae. They also attack bee hives, to strip out bee larvae.
They will catch Wasps and mosquitoes in flight, route out caterpillars and other grubs feeding on plants. And they will even steal prey from a spiders web. Its later in the season when virtually the rearing of larvae has come to a stop, that they start to become a nuisance to us. The workers go out in search of sweet substances, as they are now forced to change their diet, and gorge themselves on ripe and over ripe fruit, this in turn can produce a “tipsy” behaviour which can lead to aggression. They do however scavenge on a wide range of foods, including faeces, so as a result of them just landing on our foods or drink containers could potentially spread diseases. Carbonated sweet drinks in cans can prove to be high risk, if the wasp should be inside the can when the drink is consumed. A wasp sting inside the mouth or throat could potentially be fatal. Please be aware. And as the cooler weather approaches they become sluggish, and more irritable.
Do not ever harm or crush a wasp, especially near a wasps nest, as they can emit a series of distress chemicals which further irritates other defending wasps, provoking them to attack. For some people it is a matter of life and death. Anyone can become “sensitised” to wasp venom and it can happen anytime, even if you have been stung many times before and not shown any severe reaction. It is the body’s defence systems over reacting to the venom and the reaction may be so severe that their body may go into anaphalytic shock which can be fatal. If you have not been stung by a wasp, let me tell you it hurts. The best remedy is to stay away or keep your distance and of course give a professional Pest Controller a call.