Social wasps are one of the most complex animal societies known where all members of the nest co-operate. Workers help raise the offspring of the reproductive queen, but also collect food and defend the nest.
German and common wasps build nests of honeycomb-like cells, which are about the size of a soccer ball, but they can become much bigger if they survive over winter.
There are general components of the wasp lifecycle:
- In spring, queens emerge from hibernation and make a new nest;
- Over summer the nest expansion and the number of workers increases;
- In autumn the nest produces males (drones) and females (new queens) which can reproduce;
- In winter, new queens fly away from the nest and hibernate and the nest usually dies (sometimes nests can survive winter and thus skip the ‘new nest’ phase).