By Kevin McGee.
On 14.8.2001, I photographed a very dark Wasp on the flowers of Angelica at Mill Meadow, Drakes Broughton, certainly an insect I had not noticed previously. David Green arrived at the site and upon viewing the wasp he decided that it should be killed for further taxonomic study. He sent the specimen to George R. Else at the Natural History Museum in London who later confirmed David's initial determination that it is a male Dolichovespula media. He also remarked that "it is the darkest specimen I have seen of this sex... ...there are no such dark males from anywhere in the Museum's collection, but there is a very similar Queen from Korea."
I photographed another male at Mill Meadow on 18.8.2001, and saw another on flowering Ivy along Chevington Lane, Drakes Broughton on the late date of 29.9.2001.
Whilst searching through rotting Birch logs at Tiddesley Wood on 20.10.2001 I found a fairly large Queen Wasp preparing to hibernate. At first glance it resembled a Hornet, Vespa crabro, being distinctly 'reddish-brown' in overall appearance, but she was too small. When the slides were returned it was apparent to me that it could be a Queen Dolichovespula media. I posted a spare slide to David Green who agrees that it is indeed a Queen D .media. I found another, also inside a Birch log at Tiddesley, on 18.11.2001.
Dolichovespula media is a recent arrival to the British Isles and is slowly expanding its range northwards in common with other recent colonists, probably further evidence of global warming.
Dolichovespula media (Male).
Mill Meadow, Drakes Broughton, Worcestershire. 18.8.2001.
Dolichovespula media (Queen).
Tiddesley Wood, Worcestershire. 20.10.2001.
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