Wasps are a considered a common pest throughout the summer months, quite often building nests in buildings or in the ground. There are 2 main species of social wasp in the UK. The Common wasp (vespula vulgaris) and the German wasp (vespula germanica).
Contrary to popular belief wasps do indeed "have a purpose". They are nature´s Pest Control in the sense that they predate upon many garden insect pests to feed the larvae within the nest.
After a new Queen has overwintered she will emerge to begin the task of starting a new colony.
Once the first brood has emerged the Queen will remain within the nest to continue laying eggs in the cells to be tended to by the workers who will predate on insects and continue to build the nest.
If conditions are right the nest with thrive and grow to significant size and numbers and wasps can become particularly aggressive in defence of the nest.