Vespula vulgaris is the common garden wasp, usually found near an ice cream, or pursuing innocent British consumers all the way from a bus stop to the inside of their pants. These creatures can be hit with a hefty newspaper, crushed with one’s hand (if one is inclined), or chased. I have tried the latter approach and ended up sitting on ice.
Despite how evil these creatures seem to be, and in spite of their unwillingness to yield to the position of household pets, they do hunt flies and caterpillars. I don’t mind caterpillars so much, but I was only recently in a pretty serious battle with a powerhouse of a blue bottle, plus an epic beat down with a horse fly. I am also well aware that old lady gardeners who fancy Alan Titchmarsh do not welcome their leaves being eaten. Osteoporosis and osteoarthritis exacerbate the situation in this case, but that’s for another day.
I can confirm that the Greek wasp is a relatively passive creature. How do I know this? Well, while summering in the Greek Island of Crete I came across beetles as big as birds, and a man cooking perfect steaks under a bus shelter at 35 degrees Celsius. So I can’t complain. While enjoying a meal one night with my mother and father, and with the scent of lemon, wine and warm air, and an elephant moth, I discovered the Greek wasp. In fact as I recall, there were five or so. They did not, like the English wasp, track us to our destination, or try to cause us to dance like maniacs, but simply hovered gently, producing harmless colour and music.
So remember you Brits, when you are running down the high street, consider the Greek wasp, because they are closer to shaking your hand than you think.
If you’re in Japan, watch out for these nasty buggers.