Overwintered Wasps

General Information About Overwintering Paper Wasps

Wasps such as yellow jackets and paper wasps seen at this time of the year are over-wintering queens produced by colonies last fall. In the autumn they find refuge in protected sites in and around the home and landscape. The wasps that survive the winter are the fertilized “foundress” queens that will start “from scratch” to build a new nest and colony.

Old queen and worker wasps died last year with the onset of cold weather. The old colony does not persist through the winter and the old paper nest is not reused by the new queens, though they may make the new nest nearby. This time of year there is no need to call pest control because there is no active nest.

Wasps in your house?

Finding wasps indoors in the spring does not automatically mean there was a nest in the home last year nor does it mean they will nest in the home this year. The only necessary control at this time is to remove and discard the wasps as they are encountered. That should be easy as the queens are generally sluggish and easy to capture or  swat.

When is the best time to spray for wasps?

New wasp nests are best controlled in June. At that time nests are small and easily controlled with the “wasp hornet” aerosol sprays for aerial colonies of paper wasps and hornets or insecticide dust for ground or wall nesting species such as yellowjackets.

During the fall months as the days and evenings begin to get cooler, a wide variety of insects seek warmth and shelter to survive the upcoming cold winter months. This behavior is referred to as “Over-Wintering”. Paper wasps will commonly exhibit this behavior, surviving the cold winter months within the walls of a structure. While over-wintering the paper wasps no longer have a nest or nest mate, but are simply occupying the structure in an effort to survive until next Spring. On warm or sunny days, as the walls become warm the over-wintering wasps may become active an occasionally they will accidentally find their way into the structure. When this happens the wasps will be very sluggish and although the threat of a sting does exist, they will usually end up dying within a few hours. Wasps that remain in the walls and survive the winter months will exit in the spring and build a new nest.

Here Are Some Helpful Tips To Keep Them Out

  1. Screen attic vents from inside with window screening to prevent wasps from entering.
  2. Seal as many gaps around the exterior of the structure paying particular attention to window frames, eves of the roofline, soffits around chimneys and vents etc. By eliminating these structural gaps wasps will have more difficulty gaining access to the structure to over-winter.

If you believe that your home or business is experiencing pest control issues, contact an F&W Pest Control professional today for a free inspection and quote.

Sign Up for a Pest Program