German wasp

Vespula germanica

Common name:

European wasp

Scientific name:

Vespula germanica

Alternative common names:

None at present.

A medium-sized wasp with a body length of 12-17mm. It has a black and yellow body pattern and looks very similar to the European paper wasp (Polistes dominulus). The antennae are black. These are social wasps and they construct paper-like nests in trees, roof eaves, under rock overhangs and sometimes in underground burrows.

Additional Info

  • Where does this species come from?

    Europe

    What is its invasive status in South Africa?

    NEMBA 1b

    Where in South Africa is it a problem?

    Western Cape Province, particularly in the vicinity of Cape Town.

    How does it spread?

    Breeding colonies disperse to new areas.

    Why is it a problem?

    This exotic wasp can compete against indigenous species and is also a threat to hikers, gardeners and the like, as they may sting if they feel threatened.

    What does it look like?

    Description: A medium-sized wasp with a body length of 12-17mm. It has a black and yellow body pattern and looks very similar to the European paper wasp (Polistes dominulus). The antennae are black. Habitat: These are social wasps and they construct paper-like nests in trees, roof eaves, under rock overhangs and sometimes in underground burrows. Breeding: Nest communally and females lay their eggs in the paper nests.