Wasp and Bee Species

Although there are over 30,000 species of wasp worldwide, and around 600 in the UK, the majority aren't considered pest species.

Identifying Wasps

Although common and German wasps are the species you're most likely to encounter, knowing the differences between wasps, honey bees, and hornets makes it easier to tackle nests and infestations.

Flying Vespula vulgaris

Common and German Wasps

These are the most common species you'll find in the UK. They're also the ones that cause painful stings, which are always administered by the females.

Both have lean yellow and black bodies - the stripes and patterns vary depending on the species. They range in size from 1cm to 1.7cm; the queens are larger but remain in the nest laying eggs.

A colony can contain more than 25,000 wasps, depending on the size of the nest. Nests die during the winter, with all the males and workers perishing. The queen survives the winter and emerges in the spring to start a new nest.

Many additional species of wasp, like the wall mason wasp and the tree wasp, are indistinguishable from Common or German wasps.

Polistes carolina

Red Wasps

Red wasps tend to avoid human areas and nest underground in more natural areas. However they have been known to nest in gardens, and can be dangerous if someone steps on the entrance to their nest.

They're usually 1.1-1.7cm long and feed on nectar. They're less likely than Common or German wasps to be a nuisance to people as they're not interested in human food.


European Hornets

Hornets are larger than wasps (reaching up to 4cm), their stings are more painful and more venomous, and they can bite and sting at the same time. Luckily they are far rarer than wasps and are not generally attracted to human food the way wasps are.

They can be identified by their size and their markings - unlike wasps, hornets are usually brown and orange/yellow rather than black and yellow. They also have larger eyes and larger heads.

If you have, or suspect you have, a hornet nest, you should always seek professional treatment. Due to the greater amount of venom carried in the hornet's sting, they can be especially dangerous to people with an allergy.

Apis mellifera flying

Honey Bees

A lot of people struggle to see a difference between wasps and honey bees, as the bees are leaner than the more obvious bumble bees. But honey bees have furrier bodies than wasps, which are sleek and shiny.

Honey bees swarm when their colony outgrows their hive - half of the bees will leave to create a new colony. If you have a bee swarm you should contact a local beekeeper to relocate them, as the UK's honey bees are in decline and need to be preserved and protected.

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Recurring moth problem

We contacted JPS to assist with a moth problem that was not going away easily.
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