November 28, 2021

The wasp (Vespa crabro) (also called the European wasp) is the largest European member of the Vespidae family. Due to its respectable size, noisy flying and painful stabbing causing severe swelling, many fear this insect. As it feeds on other arthropods, it can cause serious damage to the apiaries. It is basically Eurasian, but has also been settled in North America. It has a characteristic wasp pattern. A social insect whose colonies are active from spring to late autumn. The wasp nests built together work out for the winter, the workers, the testicles are destroyed and only the fertilized queens overwinter so they can start a new family next year. It can also pull its sting back from the skin of mammals without injury. Puncture can cause death in the event of a painful, allergic reaction without treatment. The destroyed nest is mostly rebuilt by the remaining colony in its original location, so its removal should only be done by experts. It has adapted well to the proximity of humans, so its survival is assured, the World Conservation Union does not list it as an endangered species, it does not enjoy legal protection in Hungary.


It is a temperate species, mainly of Eurasian distribution. It can be encountered from the British Isles to Japan, but has also been settled in North America. The first record of his appearance there dates back to the 1840s (Saussure), and has since spread far and wide to the continent in the United States and Canada. It was also found in Guatemala in 2010, where it was the first documented occurrence. It is basically a forest species, although it remains close to it as man expands.


The following subspecies are known: Vespa crabro crabro (Linnaeus, 1758) - Northern and Eastern Europe Vespa crabro altaica (Pérez, 1910) - Western Siberia Vespa crabro borealis (Radoszkowski, 1863) - Russia, without further definition Vespa crabro caspica (Pérez, 1910) - Transcaucasian, Northern Iran Vespa crabro chinensis (Birula, 1925) - Southern and Central China (possibly identical to V. c. Oberthuri described by Du Buysson in 1902) Vespa crabro crabroniformis (Smith, 1852) - Korean Peninsula, Northern China Vespa crabro flavofasciata (Cameron, 1903) - Japan, South Korea Vespa crabro germana (Christ, 1791) - Southern and Western Europe, North America Vespa crabro oberthuri (Du Buysson, 1902) - Southwest China (possibly identical to V. chinensis described by Birula in 1925) Vespa crabro vexator (Harris, 1776) - Great Britain Southern specimens are lighter and have fine hairs.


Body weight 410-530 mg. The wasp queen can reach up to 35 millimeters in length, with testicles and workers (asexual females) much smaller (up to 25 mm). The abdomen of females consists of six and that of males consists of seven segments. The tentacles of the females are divided into 12 flavors and those of the males into 13 flavors. the tor and the articulated legs protruding from it are brown and black, while the head is yellowish with a dark pattern and brown complex eyes. In addition, there are three other points on the top of the head, which are only used to sense the direction of the light. The hollow sting at the end of the abdomen is pointed, straight, retractable. The queens also have egg tubes. The workers are stingy, the males can’t stab.

Likelihood of confusion

The queen of the square-headed wasp (Dolichovespula media) can be confused with the worker of the wasp. K

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