Vespula germanica

Threats Status

Unwanted Organism

Common Name(s)

German wasp, European wasp




German wasp occur on forest (natural and exotic), shrubland and in urban and agricultural areas. Their nest is grey and generally in a hole dug in the soil, occasionally in crevices of tree trunks or stacked material or gaps in buildings. To build their nest common wasp uses fibre from sound wood. They feed on fruit, nectar and honeydew and prey on invertebrates.


German wasps are of medium size and have a blackish-brown to black body with bright yellow rings. They are very similar to common wasps (Vespula vulgaris), but have a complete yellow line behind the eyes and black dots or a vertical black line on the "face".They have yellow legs and translucent wings.

Similar Species

There are four other introduced wasp species in New Zealand, the common wasp (Vespula vulgaris), Australian paper wasp (Polistes hummulis), the Asian paper wasp (P. chinensis) and Scoliid wasp (Radumeris tasmaniensis). See factsheets for those species for more information.

Threat To Plants

Prey on invertebrates and competition with honeybees and native bird species nectar and honeydew which may have secondary effects on the vegetation due to changes in ecosystem processes.


Widespread throughout New Zealand, except in beech forest where common wasps (Vespula vulgaris) occur.


Body: 12-17mm long (queens up to 20mm)

Year Introduced


Reason For Introduction


Colonisation History

First introduced to New Zealand accidentaly around 1940-50s in the North Island. Rapid spread and reached South Island within 10 years.