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Yellow Jackets & Hornets of the Afrotropical Region

(Life: Kingdom: Metazoa (animals); Phylum: Arthropoda; Class: Hexapoda; Order: Hymenoptera; Superfamily: Vespoidea; Family: Vespidae)


Vespa Linnaeus, 1758

Vespula Thomson,1869 (Alien invasive wasp in South Africa)





Social, constructing concealed communal paper nests often under the ground. The introduced Vespula germanica constructs a nest with multi-layers of combs that are concealed in an outer covering. Larvae are fed on chewed-up, soft-bodied insects such as caterpillars.


Wasp reporting tool for Cape Town invasive wasps. Log your sighting to streamline the booking process for a control team.


Bequaert, J.C. 1918. A revision of the Vespidae of the Belgian Congo based on the collection of the American Museum Congo Expedition: with a list of Ethiopian diplopterous wasps. Bulletin of the AMNH 39: 1-384.

Brothers, D.J. & Finnamore A.T. 1993. Superfamily Vespoidea (pp. 161-278). In GOULET, H. & HUBER, J. (eds). Hymenoptera of the World: an identification guide to families. Research Branch, Agriculture Canada, Ottawa, Canada, 668 pp.

Carpenter, J. M. & M. Madl. 2009. A catalogue of the Vespidae of the Malagasy Subregion (Insecta, Hymenoptera). Linzer Biologische Beiträge 41 (2): 1871-1935.

Gess, S.K. & Gess, F.W. 2014. Wasps and bees in southern Africa. SANBI Biodiversity Series 24. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria. 320 pp.

Perrard A, Pickett KM, Villemant C, Kojima J, Carpenter J. 2013. Phylogeny of hornets: a total evidence approach (Hymenoptera, Vespidae, Vespinae, Vespa ). Journal of Hymenoptera Research 32: 1–15.  doi:10.3897/jhr.32.4685

Picker, M., Griffiths, C & Weaving, A. 2002. Field Guide to Insects of South Africa. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.

Richards, O.W. 1982. A revision of the genus Belonogaster de Saussure (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). Bull. Brit. Mus. Nat. Hist. Entomol 44: 31–114.

Smith-Pardo, A.H.  Carpenter, J.M. Kimsey L.  2020. The diversity of hornets in the genus Vespa (Hymenoptera: Vespidae; Vespinae), their importance and interceptions in the United States. Insect Systematics and Diversity 4(3) https://doi.org/10.1093/isd/ixaa006

van Noort, S. & Picker, M. 2011. Wasps, Bees, Ants. Class Insecta, Order Hymenoptera. Pp 140-146. In:  Picker, M. & Griffiths, C. (eds.) Alien & Invasive Animals. A South African perspective. Struik Nature.

van Zyl C, Addison P, Veldtman R. 2018. The invasive Vespidae in South Africa: potential management strategies and current status. African Entomology 26: 267-285. http://dx.doi.org/10.4001/003.026.0267


Photographs © Simon van Noort (Iziko Museums of South Africa).

Web author Simon van Noort (Iziko South African Museum)


Citation: van Noort, S. 2024. WaspWeb: Hymenoptera of the World. URL: www.waspweb.org (accessed on <day/month/year>).

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