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There are 7,000 species of wasps living in the UK, nine of which build nests to house a colony.
Like bees, each wasp species is either social or solitary. Those that prefer family life build nests to house themselves and their colony.
Most social wasps aren't particularly fussy when it comes to finding a spot to settle down and build their new home. All they need is somewhere dry, safe and structurally sound enough to support a nest.
They will settle anywhere, with some species preferring hollow trees, rock crevices or manmade structures. Some choose to nest underground.
The process begins when a queen wasp emerges from hibernation, as she promptly searches for a place to call home.
Providing for herself, the queen settles on a location and starts to build. She constructs using wood mixed with saliva. This forms a malleable pulp that is perfect for moulding.
The queen lays eggs into the hollow spaces - the cells - she creates. The eggs hatch and grow to become her first worker wasps.
When they reach adulthood, the new workers take over the responsibility of foraging for supplies and building the nest. The queen is then resigned to laying eggs for the rest of her life.
Wasps are architects, continually growing their nests to house the rising numbers of insects in the colony.
Some species' nests are large and elaborate, whereas others are small and compact. But each species builds homes perfectly suited to the needs and the size of their colony.
Watch as Museum wasp expert Dr Gavin Broad explains more about one of the collections' unique nests.
Not all wasps are social. Some prefer a solitary life and build simpler nests to rear their young. There are 200 species in the UK that make this type of nest.
Tarantula hawks are wasps with what is regarded as the second most painful insect sting in the world. They are found across South and Central America and in the southern United States.
These wasps spend their lives paralysing tarantulas, which can be much larger than them, and use them as a host for their eggs and larvae. The wasp will drag the tarantula to a specially dug hole, or even to the spider's own den, using that as a pseudo-nest, rather than building one.
Many wasps take advantage of fresh food sources in their natural environment, such as other insects and spiders.
Parasitoid wasps use other insects as hosts for their offspring, eating them alive and fresh.
These species are often used as a natural pesticide in agriculture, as the wasps' offspring feeds on or in the pest insects. This keeps pest numbers under control.
... or that it helped you learn something new. Now we're wondering if you can help us.
Every year, more people are reading our articles to learn about the challenges facing the natural world. Our future depends on nature, but we are not doing enough to protect our life support system.
British wildlife is under threat. The animals and plants that make our island unique are facing a fight to survive. Hedgehog habitats are disappearing, porpoises are choking on plastic and ancient woodlands are being paved over.
But if we don't look after nature, nature can't look after us. We must act on scientific evidence, we must act together, and we must act now.
Despite the mounting pressures, hope is not lost. Museum scientists are working hard to understand and fight against the threats facing British wildlife.
For many, the Museum is a place that inspires learning, gives purpose and provides hope. People tell us they 'still get shivers walking through the front door', and thank us for inspiring the next generation of scientists.
To reverse the damage we've done and protect the future, we need the knowledge that comes from scientific discovery. Understanding and protecting life on our planet is the greatest scientific challenge of our age. And you can help.
We are a charity and we rely on your support. No matter the size, every gift to the Museum is critical to our 300 scientists' work in understanding and protecting the natural world.
From as little as £2, you can help us to find new ways to protect nature. Thank you.