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Queen Wasp Compared to Normal Wasp

There is a huge interest among people about the difference between a queen wasp and a normal wasp. From Panther Pest Control we decided to make a detailed post about it that contains the most common questions related to this interesting topic.

In this guide you will learn how normal wasps turn into queens, how the two types of wasp live, hunt and multiply.

How Does a Wasp Become a Queen Wasp at First Place?

queen wasp

Image source: Wikimedia; License type: CC BY-SA 3.0

To get a queen in a wasp nest you need fertilized eggs. These eggs contain female wasps which are usually the workers in the colony. There is always at least 1 queen in the nest, which choose the females wasps that will be turned into the new queens.

When the choice is made the queen wasps start a complex process of special care for these wasps. It’s still somehow unknown how the how process of turning specific normal wasps into queens. Scientists say there is a special hormone which the queen gives to the chosen wasps. Afterwards, these insects that have been given special care, grow faster and differently, finally turning into the new queens of the colony. If you have a wasp nest at your home, don’t hesitate to call us for a wasp nest removal.
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How Big is a Queen Wasp – Difference in Queen Wasp Size

Usually, the queen wasps resembles the workers at almost 100% and is very hard to identify it. Is some wasp species like the yellow jackets, the queen is longer than the workers and can be easily noticed.

The difference in the queen wasp size is about 0.64cm and similar diversity in the size may be observed at other insect species such as ants and honeybees.

The lower abdomen of the queen wasp are pointed in contrast to the normal wasp. All insects of this kind are omnivorous and reach a maximum length of about 2.5 – 3.8cm

Where Do Queen Wasps Hibernate?

hibernating queen wasp eaten by a spider

Image source: Flickr; Author: Andy Murray; License type:CC BY-SA 2.0

Wasp queens look for narrow places under a shelter where they can get into during the winter. The place should protect them mostly from temperatures but from humidity and predators as well. Crevices and holes into the walls of building provide a good shelter.

No matter how well they hide, almost all wasp queens that have been produced in the nest die during the winter as they become victims of other animals, mostly arachnids like spiders who hide in the same places where the queens hibernate.

Another major threat for the hibernating queens are warm winters. When wasp wake up too early, there is no food for them and starvation wipes them out in a short time.

Hornets may be a terrible disaster when they wake up too early, especially if they are asian hornets.

Where Normal Wasps Hibernate?

The majority of the wasp colony does not hibernate. Normal wasps get wiped out during the winter because of starvation caused by lack of food. The queens that are sexually mature are the only wasps that go through a successful hibernation process if the temperatures are low enough until the end of the winter.

When do Queen Wasps Come Out of Hibernation?

There is a lot of interest on questions like “when queen does the queen wasp leave the nest” so I decided to sum it up quickly.

The new year for the wasps starts when the winter ends, and the spring comes. During the first days of the spring the warmer temperatures wake up the queens and breaks their hibernation process.

The next thing that needs to be done depends entirely on the queens as there are no other wasps alive at that time of the season. The wasp queens have to find a place which is very convenient for a nest. Then they start to gather materials of which the nest will be made.

What Do Queen Wasps Eat?

wasp eating its victim

Image source: Wikimedia; License type: CC BY-SA 3.0

The type of food that queen wasps eat depends on the time of the year. In early spring, the queens are very dependent on nectar as it is the only adequate food at this time. The mature flying insects gather it from plants and flowers which makes the queen wasps as important as honey bees when it comes to pollination. Generally, the menu of the queen wasps consists mostly of food such as:

  • Nectar
  • Insects
  • Arachnids (mostly spiders)
  • Larvae (of insects, mostly from the Hymenoptera family)
  • Fallen fruit

What Normal Wasps Eat?

The diet if the normal wasps is quite different, only adult workers are eager to use flower nectar in the late spring, the rest of the wasps in the nest will not take part in pollination at all. Most of the the time, adult wasps spend on searching for food for their young.

These food-seeking wasps kill other insects and small arachnids like spiders and feed the smaller members of the colony on their victims, thus ensuring the survival of their species.

Some wasp species are omnivorous and also feed on fallen fruit and dead insects. Adult male wasps very rarely fly to flowers for a nectar, usually when there is no other food source available around.

How Queen Wasps Build Wasp Nests?

wasp nest

Image source: Wikimedia; License type: CC BY-SA 3.0

The process of building a wasp nest starts immediately after the winter ends and the queens get out of hibernation.

  • Scavenging materials
    Once they find the perfect place for the nest, the wasp queens start to gather the material they need to build it.

    What works best is mix of wax, saliva and chewed fabric (wood or synthetic material). It all begins with finding something that is stable and firm to which the nest will be attached, quite often this is the place under the roof of a house and inside sheds, bird boxes, garages and cavities.
  • Laying eggs
    Once the wasp nest is ready, the queens lay their eggs there and start searching for food to ensure sustenance for their larvae. The food for the larvae should be rich in protein as this increases the speed of their growth and leads to a healthy colony.

What normal wasps do about the nest?

  • Hunting
    Normal wasps make an important contribution to the wasp nest as well. Most of the time they hunt insects and search for other type of food. Each group of wasp species has to care for the offspring and do whatever it is required to ensure their survival.

    There are also wasp species known as beewolf wasps. These are very harmful for the environment because their favorite prey are honey bees, which on the other hand are very important because of the pollination. Adult beewolf wasps feed on pollen and nectar which is practically, stealing the food of the bee species.
  • Stealing and infiltrating
    Some wasp species steal the food of other wasps and even lay eggs in the nests of wasps from a different colony. Specific types of solitary wasp species build special types of wasp nests in which each insect has a private cell. It lays eggs there and brings immobilized food to the larvae. Then seals the exit and leaves the larvae with the food inside which they later use as a source of protein to finish they life stages.

Queen Wasp Sting. Is it More Dangerous?

queen wasp sting

Image source: Wikimedia; License type: CC BY-SA 3.0

The queen wasp is not more dangerous than the sting of a normal wasp, although the anatomy of the queen wasp sting is a bit different, mostly by its size as the insects is a bit bigger.

Wasps, bees and hornets sting either in self defence or when their queen is threatened. You might get attacked if you get too close to their nest but such unfortunate events are less possible, but not impossible.

In this picture of a queen wasp sting , made with a microscope in 1913, you can see the anatomy of the sting. There are two small barbs in the tip and each has a very specific and important purpose.

The first one is supposed to stabilize the victim so that the second barb can go in easily and with precision. Onse the victim is immobilized by the first barb the second one injects the venom that paralyzes the stung victim completely, usually these are other smaller insects, bees and more.

Wasp Extermination and Wasp Nest Removal

If you need any help with any form of wasp control whether it is a wasp nest removal or complete wasp extermination, we would love to help you with it. Call us 24/7, give us detailed information about your wasp infestation and get a precise quote for the service.