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Colony structure and nest characteristics of European wasps, Vespula germanica (F.) (Hymenoptera: Vespidae), in Victoria, Australia

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Abstract

European wasps, Vespula germanica, are common across southern and south-eastern Australia and have a negative impact upon urban areas, primary industries, and natural ecosystems. Aspects of colony structure and nest characteristics are examined for nests located in the ground and collected from urban and rural sites in Victoria during two summer−autumn field seasons (1996 and 2001). On average, nests were located 28 cm beneath the surface (range 5−58 cm). The average number of combs in the nest and the total area of the nests increased from early February to late May. In addition, the proportion of cells used to produce workers and different life stages (larvae, pupae) also varied throughout the season; being consistent with studies from New Zealand. No differences in colony structure or nest character­istics were detected between urban and rural nests.
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Keywords: European wasps; Vespula germanica; invasive species; nests; seasonal variation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Keith Turnbull Research Institute, Department of Natural Resources and Environment, PO Box 48, Frankston, Vic. 3199, Australia.

Publication date: November 1, 2002

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