Median Wasp

It stayed relatively cool and overcast for much of the day, allowing me to have a pleasant late afternoon walk at Castor Hanglands, where the Water Mint, Fleabane and Angelica were all in full bloom, and attracting a wide range of insect, particularly hoverflies and social wasps.. 

This individual was one of the most spectacular - a male Median Wasp Dolichovespula media, nectaring on the Wild Angelica. This species is the  second largest British social wasp. It was first recorded in 1980 in Sussex, since when it has spread over all of England and Wales, and much of southern Scotland. It has a short life cycle, with nests finishing in August.

Nests are built in aerial sites, in nearly all cases suspended from the branches of trees and shrubs, from ground level to a height of several metres. The surrounding foliage usually hides a nest and protects it from rain and direct sunlight. Nests are constructed from wood fibres collected from both sound and apparently rotten timber (workers visit weathered fence posts for the purpose). In the spring and early summer, embryo (or queen) nests are unusual (for British wasps) in having a long, spout-like vestibule to the entrance at the bottom of the nest; this feature is lost later. Queens have been found hibernating in and under logs, perhaps indicating that this species prefers a humid site in which to spend the winter.

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