Wasp With Long Legs: Which One Is It?

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:55 pm

A wasp with long legs? The extensive family of wrinkled wasps (Vespidae) has the most diverse species. This article will tell you which one it is.

  • wasps with long legs belong to the subfamily Polistinae, better known as field wasps
  • a total of five species of field wasps can be found in the European-speaking countries of Europe
  • the legs hang down when flying, which makes the animals appear somewhat clumsy
  • Field wasps are peaceful wasps that only sting in extreme emergencies and rarely pose a danger.

Long legs: Field Wasps

Wasp With Long Legs: Which One Is It?

If you spot a wasp that has long legs that hang downward in flight, it is a specimen from the subfamily Polistinae. Field wasps look very similar to wasps commonly found in Europe and can be recognized at first glance solely by their legs. However, there are still some characteristics that set the long-legged wasp apart:

  • generally slender
  • abdomen drop-shaped
  • two distinctive yellow spots on the back
  • yellow head shield
  • wings fold twice in resting position
  • lower third of legs colored orange
  • flight seems awkward
Feldwespe im Flug

The size of the field wasps also varies and is slightly smaller, making the long legs even more noticeable:

  • Queens: 13 to 18 mm
  • Males: 12 to 16 mm
  • Workers: 12 to 15 mm

A wasp of this species lives together in colonies of ten to 30, maximum 50 individuals. For this reason, the nests are not larger than a plate with a diameter of about ten centimeters and are not closed. If you discover a small nest with open combs that has not been built underground, it is most likely field wasps. They are active from March (queens) to mid or late September (workers and males). Nests are abandoned over the winter and can therefore be removed. As with other wasps, only the queens overwinter in suitable hiding places and look for a suitable site to build a nest in the spring.

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Frequently asked questions

Where does the field wasp like to build its nests?

No matter what kind of field wasp it is, the capable insects build their nests in a wide variety of places. A sunny place is important, because the animals are heat-loving and for this reason are often found even in urban areas. For example, roofs, roof tiles, the inside of metal pipes or wooden boards are chosen. Even objects such as watering cans or an unused bicycle are used as nesting sites. Field wasps are not picky.

How can field wasps be supported?

If you want to make your garden available to these peaceful contemporaries, you should design it accordingly. Plant species from the umbelliferae family (Apiaceae) such as caraway or fennel, or set up wild corners. In this way, you will provide insects with sufficient nesting space and food.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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