I've particularly noticed the re-emergence of wasps over the past couple of weeks. It seems every time I open my shed there's a big stripey black and yellow thing buzzing towards me.

I saw one today on a fence post, meticulously scraping away the surface of the wood with its mouth. They do this to make a papier-mâché mix with the wood pulp and their saliva, which they use to make their papery nests. The nests are generally built afresh at this time of year so you may see lots of them collecting wood like this and even notice patterns of freshly scraped wood on fences and wooden garden furniture.

The small nest in the photo above is about tennis ball sized and was found in my loft (long since abandoned) but somewhere they're making new ones right now. Actually having done some reading, it might just be a hibernation cell for an overwintering queen. It's those queens presumably that are now building new nests, which might grow to several feet across and 10,000 inhabitants by Autumn!

The UK has two types of 'classical' black and yellow wasp: the Common wasp and German wasp. There are also lots of other types of wasp, some of which are very tiny and many of which lead quite fascinating lives – but that's for another time.

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