Social Wasps and Bumble Bees

By Geoff Trevis

The two distribution rnaps show the current state of the BRC records for the Common Wasp, Vespula vulgaris and the Hornet, Vespa crabro. Clearly something is wrong as at face value the two species are equally common and widespread. In reality, of course, the Common Wasp could almost certainly be found in every tetrad whilst the Hornet is much more restricted. These records go back to the 1950's and, I suspect, will be over-estimating the occurrence of the Homet. The situation with Bumble Bees is probably even worse though I have not yet plotted their distributions.

Map showing tetrad records of common wasp Vespula vulgaris

Map showing tetrad records of hornet Vespa crabro

I think we should be able to update the records fairly easily and I am asking for your help in doing so. First, if you feel confident in making an identification then I would be very grateful to receive any records of social wasps and bumble bees which can be sent to me by post or e-mail (details below). Second, if you could send me any specimens you may collect, even if they have been extracted from the jam pot or your glass of beer I will identify them. I will also send details to the BRC, and let you know what you have found. It should be possible to identify even specimens that have received the rolled up newspaper treatment, provide they are not too mashed! Also, look out along the edges of roads as many bumble bees end up there after having been hit by cars. If you do send anything, please remember of include your name, the date and where you found the specimen, preferably with a grid reference (though not essential).

Whilst I would like to concentrate on updating the records for the social wasps and bumble bees, if any entomologists have aculeate hymenoptera (including ants), which they obtain in the course of their collecting and do not want, I would be very glad to receive them.

Records can be sent to Geoff Trevis: email

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