Having hibernated throughout the winter, queen wasps are now busy constructing their nests.

Depending on the species, wasps build either underground in a disused mouse hole, in a tree on under the ceiling of a loft or shed.

Three species, namely the common, tree wasp and German can be seen in our areas but they all look superficially similar apart from face markings.

Her first task is to build a golf ball sized sphere wit an entrance below in which she makes a few hexagonal cells like upturned wine glasses into which she lays her first eggs (see photo).

To begin, the queen bites pieces of soft wood from a fence post or log and using saliva or water from a pond, chews it into a paste.

Gradually the nest is enlarged with more outer spheres and more cells added, helped by the young wasps as they hatch.

They also feed the growing grubs with chewed up insects such as flies or caterpillars.

Some years ago, there was a mass influx of hover flies from the Continent, many of which entered my conservatory and became trapped under the ceiling, a wasp discovered them and every twenty minutes flew in, caught a hoverfly in mid-air and bit off its head legs and wings before taking the remainder back to feed its grubs!

Quite soon my conservatory floor was littered with dismembered hoverflies which I repeatedly swept up until late summer when the queen wasp died and the nest was finally deserted.