German wasp

Vespula germanica

German wasp, European wasp / Yellow jacket (Eng.), Duitse wespe (Afr.)

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These black-and-yellow wasps are an alien invasive species in the Western Cape, South Africa. They build paper nests in trees, crevices of buildings, against outside walls, but mostly underground. They are attracted to sweet substances and carrion which they take to the nests to feed the young larvae. Colonies can contain up to several thousand individuals.
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Stings are unpleasant and the effects vary from person to person. Initially it can burn for some time and then followed by an irritating itch.


Distinctive black-and-yellow wasps. Looks similar to Polistes dominula, but has black antennae.


Can be a pest on stonefruits and grapes. They take fruit particles back to nests to feed young larvae. Threaten honeybees as they also ambush bees and take them back to nests to feed young larvae.











Native to Europe, North Africa and temperate Asia. Introduced into the Western Cape of South Africa with invasive status. Otherwise is widespread across Europe, America, and Oceania.

Biological treatment

No natural predators have been discovered. This could also be due to the aposematic colouration of these wasps. The black-and-yellow colours are warning colours telling predators that they are unpalatable.

Chemical treatment

A can of Doom (indicating Flying insects) can be used to kill the colony. However, the treatment will depend on the nest site (trees, crevices, underground, etc.) and estimated size of the nest. Clothing is important when dealing with these wasps - bee suits can be used, but they can sting through it. Therefore, it will be ideal to rather wear thick clothes underneath the bee suit. Make sure there is no way for them to get inside your suit. When nests are found in the ground, you can treat them with diesel and set it on fire. As it burns you can use a spade and open the nest. Remove the paper nests are burn it all to ashes. Afterwards you can fill up with ground.
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