Insectes Sociaux

, Volume 57, Issue 2, pp 133–145 | Cite as

The queen colony phase of vespine wasps (Hymenoptera, Vespidae)

  • M. E. ArcherEmail author
Review Article


Characteristics of queen nests of the Vespinae are reviewed including the number of cells and each brood stage in the mature nest, cell-building and egg-laying rates, length of each brood stage and the occurrence of brood cannibalism. Success rates of queen nests of the Vespinae are reviewed with their causes of failure including the effect of queen usurpation, and with particular reference to variation of queen behaviour or queen quality. Evidence for the differences between potentially successful and unsuccessful queen nests is given. Simulation models of queen nests are developed for potential successful and unsuccessful colonies to determine the extent of larval cannibalism, larval life extension and for unsuccessful queen nests, oophagy. The variation of cell building rate, the importance of ambient temperature and the fast development of the first batch of eggs are considered in relation to polistine studies. The causes of the variation of queen quality are unknown but could be related to the amount of food received as larvae or as adults before leaving the natal colony.


Vespinae Queen nest Nest failure 


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© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel/Switzerland 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.York St. John UniversityYorkUK

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