Photo credit: GFDL 1.2, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1931193
The potential problem of the ‘German wasp’
Common name. European wasp
Scientific name. Vespula germanica
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?
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.
Where does this species come from?
What is its invasive status in South Africa?
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.