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Median Wasp ( Dolichovespula media)

Wasps – useful but annoying at picnics.

The median wasp (Dolichovespula media) is a species of social wasp of the family Vespidae found throughout Europe and Asia. It builds aerial paper nests, often in shrubs or trees and occasionally under the eaves of buildings. It is most common to see this wasp between May and October during its 3.3-month colony cycle.

Behaviours of this wasp include nest defence, curling which is believed to function in brood incubation, and gastral vibration, which is involved in larval feeding.

The median wasp has a haplodiploid sex-determination system, resulting in a high level of relatedness within the colony. This species is not usually aggressive but will sting if they feel their nest is threatened. The workers do most foraging in the nest once the first ones reach adulthood. These workers forage for insects, nectar, and wood for nest construction in temperatures as low as 7 °C (45 °F). The median wasp is known to be occasionally affected by the fungus Cordyceps sphecocephala and the Cricket paralysis virus.

seen on the edge of the wood on Box Hill in Surrey in July 2022.


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