Social wasps have annual nests with workers (non-breeding females), founded anew every spring when a queen fertilised the previous year emerges from hibernation.  She builds a small nest out of wood-pulp and lays a few eggs in cells which develop into workers.  These forage for the nest and collect pulp to expand it, while the queen continues to lay.  Eventually, a nest may reach over 2m in diameter and contain several thousand wasps.  In late summer males are produced, and some females develop into queens (breeding females).  These are quickly mated and hibernate, while the workers, males, and old queen die.  The Cuckoo Wasp is a social parasite with no workers.

All female (queen and worker) social wasps can sting, and may be very defensive if a nest is disturbed.  All wasp nests are potential hazards, but destruction (always by professionals) should be carried out only if they present an immediate hazard.

The Saxon Wasp
Dolichovespula saxonica has spread rapidly N in England since 1987, and was found for the first time in Scotland at Kincraig in 2013 by Steven Falk.  In 2014, a queen Hornet Vespa crabro built a nest in a garden shed on the Black Isle, the first confirmed Hornet in Scotland.  That must have had human assistance to get here.