This wasp began building a nest about a week ago in one of the cavities of my sand martin colony in the Fens near Ely, Cambs. I estimate its total body length at 30-35mm. It's the same size, and has the same deep, dark red colouration, as a wasp I'm familiar with (to my cost) in the Amazon, but I had no idea we had creatures like this in the UK.
I've tried identifying this from books and internet material, but as a complete novice in this field I don't know where to start in what is clearly a diverse group of insects. I've a feeling that a knowledgeable specialist out there will recognise this fabulous creature and can enlighten my dark world of ignorance!
Thanks, Tony Martin
I believe this is likely to be a native hornet, Vespa crabro, and possibly a queen?
Thank you very much, Jonathan. Having looked up photos of this species, the size of queens and the genesis of colonies, I'm sure you're right. I was thrown by the fact that this social wasp was in fact totally solitary!
Best regards, Tony