Last week at Killerton I came across a Median Wasp Dolichovespula media. This species first arrived in Britain in the early 1980s from continental Europe and caused rather a stir. It is a species which can nest close to buildings and close to the ground – as a result people can get stung! The media got very excited about the Median Wasp calling it a new killer species …. 35 years later all is fortunately well.
The median wasp is larger than an ‘ordinary’ wasp but much smaller than a hornet. It quite often has rufous tinges along with the yellow markings. They are identified by the four marks on the thorax – in this specimen two are red and two are yellow
From the front the median wasp has a dagger mark above the jaws- red in this case. For some reason unknown to me this individual was scratching away at this mountain bike tyre. Not sure if it was feeding on the rubber or something on the tyre.
It is now well established in the UK and is fairly common – it is not aggressive unless you annoy it!