Quick facts

Common name(s): wasp, common wasp

Scientific name: Vespula vulgaris

Family: Vespidae

What do wasps look like?

Queen wasps are around 20-25mm long and workers are 11-14mm. They have two pairs of wings and long antennae.

Head: triangular-shaped with unique anchor-shaped marking

Thorax: bright yellow and black bands along the body and has an obvious waist area separating the thorax from the abdomen.

Abdomen: yellow and black bands continue down the abdomen and the sting is located on the end of the abdomen.

Not to be confused with: other similar wasps. It can be distinguished from other wasps by the anchor-shaped mark on its face

Where do wasps live?

Wasps live in nests built in a range of environments. You'll find them in many habitats.

Wasps are attracted to sweet food and drinks, nests are usually only seen as tiny entrance holes, usually underground but also in cavities in walls, ceiling, logs and trees.

Wasps can be seen in early spring, and queens appear from February.


How big is a queen wasp? And where to see one

Charlotte Varela  •  12 Mar 2024

Have you ever seen a giant wasp when out working in the garden or visiting the woods? If so, it's likely you'll have spotted a queen wasp. Find out how big they are, where to spot them and more.

Find out more