Where do wasps go in the winter?

The weather will begin to warm up soon, but if you haven’t spotted a wasp yet, that begs the question – where do wasps go in winter? Are they still in their nests, keeping warm and cozy like honey bees in a hive or have they migrated south with birds in search of food, sunshine, sandy beaches and sticky, sweet cocktails? And even more importantly, when will the wasps be back? We’ll answer these questions here.

Wasps are one of the last things your property needs and these stinging insects never fail to bring on stress and anxiety. So if you start seeing wasps flying around your home or business as the weather warms, call Ehrlich at 888-984-0186 or contact us online

paper wasp

What do wasps do in the winter?

As winter starts drawing to a close, you may wonder: How do wasps survive the winter? Well, actually, many of them don’t. When the first frost comes, most of the wasps in the colony die except for female wasps that are going to become queen wasps. You might be happy to learn that’s the case, but should you be concerned about random wasps in winter that do pop up at your home or business?

First, let’s highlight a couple of wasps you should be aware of:

  • Yellow jackets – They have yellow and black abdomens. Queen yellow jackets are roughly ¾ inches in length.
  • Paper wasps – They tend to be brownish in color, with yellow marks. Paper wasp adults are about ⅝ to ¾ inches in length.

During winter, these wasps hide in undisturbed locations such as attics. If warm weather crops up during the winter, you may see a wasp in your home, such as a paper wasp creeping on the floor. In instances like this, don’t get too worried about it being a life or death situation. Still, be wary that a wasp might create a nest on your property when it becomes warmer and you should stay alert.

What do wasps do in spring?

On the positive side, spring will be here soon, but that also means you may begin to spot queen wasps emerging from their overwintering place, which could be as diverse as the warm folds of a curtain, a cozy crevice in a shed or a loft. The queen wasps will be on the scout for a new place to build a nest and lay their eggs.

yellowjacket queen

Yellow jacket nests may be found in the ground or affixed to bushes or shrubs, and paper wasps nests are located in places such as under window sills. Paper wasp colonies will typically grow to be the biggest during late summer or the early fall. You’ll certainly know it’s a female if it stings you because only the female wasps have the distinctive stinger, which they can use repeatedly, unlike bees.

Later, worker wasps return to the nest and die. Typically only females that have mated survive. The queen does not usually use the old nest and builds a new wasp nest, creating a single cell at the end of a petiole. Six more cells are then added to create the hexagonal shape.

The queen then lays eggs that grow into small larva. The larva grows to full size, then it pupates into an adult worker wasp. The life cycle from egg to fully grown insect is approximately three weeks.

 What’s inside a wasp’s nest?

The worker wasps will continue to build and maintain the nest, forage for food and feed the larvae. Until June the nests will normally be golf ball sized but may be larger with warm weather. From late June the wasp nest will have grown considerably and wasps can normally be spotted on the outside carrying out repair and maintenance work. Take a look at this footage by worldofwasps showing hornets at the nest.

Remember wasp stings have the potential to produce an allergic reaction that can be dangerous. You should get medical attention if you’ve been bitten and are experiencing symptoms like trouble breathing.

We are wasp experts

At Ehrlich, we understand seeing a wasp can be scary and we will work with you to eliminate wasps from your home or business. Ehrlich specialists can treat wasp nests so your concerns will be alleviated. You should take a wasp infestation seriously, so reach out to us if you ever noticing wasps swarming around your property!

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