There are two species of wasp commonly encountered as pests in the UK; the Common Wasp (vespula vulgaris) and the German Wasp (vespula germanica). Both species are capable of inflicting a painful sting and when stinging will release hormones encouraging other wasps from the colony to sting the victim. Although painful wasp stings only very rarely cause anaphylactic reactions (unlike honey bees) and death from wasp stings is very unusual.
The Common Wasp (above left) and German Wasp (above right) workers are both about 13mm long (rarely up to 17mm) and the queen is around 20mm long. Colonies may contain as many as 10,000 wasps although more usually less than 2000. Worker wasps rarely survive winter and the queen will build a new nest and create a new colony each year, occasionally new nests may be attached to nests from previous years, so appearing larger than usual. The nest itself is a papery mass of hexagonal cells made from chewed wood and is roughly spherical in shape.
Due to the risk of stinging, if you encounter a nest, do not try to remove it yourself, please contact a professional pest control company such as ours.