Wasp Facts

Size 0.4-0.6 in (12-16 mm)
Speed Up to 20 mph (33 km/h)
Weight Unknown
Lifespan About 22 days
Food Fruit, insects
Predators Birds, reptiles, mammals
Habitat Europe, Asia
Order Hymenoptera
Family Vespidae
Scientific name Vespinae
Characteristics Long antennae, black and yellow stripes

Main Characteristics

Many Different Species

Only few people know that there exists are large diversity of wasp species. The little insects often simply fly past too quickly, so that it’s only the typical black and yellow pattern that sticks in the mind. The family of “real wasps” comprises 61 species, such as hornets, paper wasps, sand wasps, fairy wasps, honey wasps, velvet ants and many more.

Wasp Wasp - Photo: pixelnest/Shutterstock

Diligent Craftspeople

Scientists found out that wasps orient themselves by the magnetic field of our planet when building their nests. This helps them to control the exact array of the combs.

No Cheating!

Female paper wasps fight for their rank to determine their social hierarchy. The winning wasp is allowed to lay more eggs and relax more often. These wasps can be recognized by their spotty faces. Some wasps think they are particularly smart and simply imitate these spots to enjoy a privileged position without having to enter an arduous fight. This plan does not always work out, and the cheaters are punished by being attacked more often and more fiercely.

Wasp Wasp - Photo: Tomatito/Shutterstock

Tired? ME? Not Really!

Wasps sleep in shifts – only about 2-3 hours a day, so that they are able to take care of their larvae and guard the entrances at all times.

Night-Vision Device: ON!

Wasps have extremely good eyesight and can even fly when it’s completely dark – at an impressive speed of up to 20 mph (33 km/h).

Wasps' sting Wasps' sting - Photo: Craig Taylor/Shutterstock

Wasps Don’t Sting in Autumn

At least if you have an encounter with male wasps. They hatch in autumn and their only task is the reproduction of the species. Therefore they do not need a sting. They have slightly curved instead of crooked antennae and a dumpier back part.


Wasps build nests that look as if they are made of paper and mainly consist of chewed-up and rotten wood. You can mostly find them hanging in hedges, trees or on the walls of houses. There are also species such as the German wasp that nest in burrows abandoned by mice or moles.

Wasps' nest Wasps' nest - Photo: Vector3D/Shutterstock

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