Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Life Cycle

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:

  1. In spring, queens emerge from hibernation and make a new nest;
  2. Over summer the nest expansion and the number of workers increases;
  3. In autumn the nest produces males (drones) and females (new queens) which can reproduce;
  4. 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).