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How long do wasps live?

Wasps are one of the most common stinging insects that pop up around spring and the summer time each year. These pesky bugs can cause a lot of pain, both physically and mentally for homeowners. So, how long do wasps live?

The lifecycle of a wasp depends on the species, but in general a worker wasps life can last from 12-22 days, while a queen can live up to a year. There are many different types of wasps in North America, paper wasps and yellowjackets being the two most common.  

Paper wasp lifecycle

wasps inside a wasp nest

Paper wasps or Polistes spp are somewhat social insects and they have three different caste systems, which are queens, workers and males.

When the queens are fertilized, they spend their winters in sheltered areas like underneath tree barks, or crevices found in homes or other buildings. The queen then selects their nesting area and builds it in the spring.

The eggs are laid down and then hatched into larvae. Paper wasp larvae will develop in stages before becoming an adult. Workers will help build the nest, feed the young, and protect the nest. When a paper wasp nest matures it can hold anywhere between 20-30 adults. The queen will stop laying eggs in the late summer and shortly after the colony will die off; which will make it around 3-4 months for workers and 10-12 months for queens.

Yellowjacket wasp lifecycle

yellow jacket wasp

Yellowjackets or Vespula vulgaris are also social insects, and are able to build their nests the size of a basketball! Yellowjackets share similar nesting habits to paper wasps, where the queen will find shelter in the winter and seek a nest in the spring.

However, because of the queen’s ability to store sperm, the queen is able to lay eggs throughout the summer, and will run out at the end of the season. Which makes the lifecycle of this type of queen wasp, anywhere from 10-12  months.

Wasps can die of loneliness

Wasps are very social creatures and will build many colonies based off how well they mate. Since the purpose of a wasps life is to mate and/or create offspring, unmated wasps will eventually die off. Any unmated wasp, male or female, will perish around late summer to early fall.  

Notice a nest? Call a professional!

If you spot a few wasps in your garden or around your property, chances are there is a nest nearby. Wasps, no matter what the species, can be very dangerous if you do not know how to handle them. These insects can get very hostile when their nests are disturbed and they will sting if you get close. There is also no telling how big the nest may be or how mature the nest is until a professional inspects it. For those who are allergic, these stings can be fatal. This means relying on wasp control professionals is essential to staying safe.

If you have wasps in or around your property, please contact Ehrlich Pest Control to get an inspection today.

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