Invertebrates host numerous bacteria, with interactions ranging from pathogenesis to symbiosis. While certain symbiotic relationships have been well studied, little is known about the dynamics of these bacterial communities. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) was used to examine the bacterial microflora associated with the eusocial wasp Vespula germanica. DGGE profiles of larval guts revealed a variable microflora, suggesting that V. germanica is not dependent on a particular suite of mutualists. The variation in profiles was not related to season, nest size or macrohabitat. Sequences corresponding to Lactococcus, Lactobacillus, a novel Leuconostoc and two Rickettsiella grylli strains were obtained. DGGE proved to be a useful technique for characterizing the wasp microflora. Given the importance of microbial communities to invertebrates, there is much to be gained from the application of such techniques.