Letter | Published:


Naturevolume 105page328 (1920) | Download Citation



If glory be known to insects; if solid glory be measured among them, as among us, by the difficulties surmounted, the female wasp is a heroine to whom the queen bee is in no way comparable.—RÉAUMUR.

HAVING spent some time in observing wasps during the past eight years, a few notes descriptive of the results may possibly have an interest at this season when the queen wasps, are searching for suitable positions in which to found new colonies. The queens usually appear in the third or fourth week of April, and about a fortnight later than the humble bees. They spend a few days in feeding, and then fly about grassy banks and hedgerows, looking for a mouse's hole or some fissure or opening in the ground likely to prove desirable habitations. They are very fastidious in making a selection. I have specially constructed places for them, but hundreds of queens have declined the invitation. In twenty-seven cases, however, the queens took up residence, and the average date was May 6. The young wasps begin to show themselves in twenty-nine or thirty days, and then a few days later the queen remains at home. During the month elapsing before the small working wasps appear the queen works hard, and performs about 1136 completed journeys to procure material for constructing cells and obtaining food for herself and young. The number given is the mean derived from eight nests.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. Search for W. F. DENNING in:

About this article

Publication history

Issue Date




By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.