Dolichovespula norwegica-Norwegian wasp (Lower Shoreditch Turbary NR)

This wasp is the last of the nine types of social wasp I wanted to find. I have now seen them all.

A long-cheeked wasp usually easily distinguished from other Dolichovespula species by the patches of red at the sides of tergites1 and 2 and the broad black band running down the centre of the face. There is some variation in the extent of black on the abdomen which can leave isolated pairs of spots on the tergites in paler specimens.

Specimens of D. norwegica with reduced red on tergite 2 can resemble some specimens of D. saxonica but have numerous black hairs on the sides of the thorax (all yellow in saxonica). The Red Wasp can also have red on the abdomen but is a short-cheeked species with a very different abdominal and facial pattern.

D. norwegica is very widespread but increases in abundance as you go north and west. It nests in a variety of situations both above the ground (with nests suspended from the twigs of bushes and trees) and at ground level, sometimes in grass tussocks but not usually underground. Males are usually found on umbellifer flowers in late summer, and hibernated queens like to visit sallow catkins in spring….Steve Falk

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