Overwintering Wasps/Yellow Jackets/Hornets

Overwintering Wasps/Yellow Jackets/Hornets

Now that Fall temperatures are upon us, Wasp, Yellow Jacket and Bald Faced Hornet activity is diminishing. As the flowers die off, their food sources also fade. The last remaining available food sources seem to be at your favorite apple orchards!

So where do these pesky insect go for the winter? To understand where they go and how they survive, we need to understand their biology.

The best starting point is to know that Wasps, Yellow Jackets and Hornets are cold blooded. In fact, they are in the same biological family as ants. With this said, two critical elements must be understood. First, their body temperatures will match the outside ambient temperature and second, the warmer it is, the more active they become.

Over wintering queens emerge from their protected areas in late spring and begin the nest building process. As their nests evolve, she will lay the initial round of eggs. As those eggs mature and workers emerge, they assume the nest building process. This process will continue throughout the warmer months.

Eventually, their nests have grown in size and may contain upwards of 2000 insects.

As Fall approaches, their food sources begin to diminish. Then as first frost approaches, the workers begin to die off. After a couple of hard frosts, all of the workers have died and only the queen(s) remain.

These queens will seek protected areas such as under our eves, behind our gutters under tree bark and even in our attics as they prepare for winter.

Remembering that they are cold blooded and their body temperatures rise according to the outside temperatures, we see activity on warmer, sunny days. Then as the temperatures cool, the wasps retreat to their over wintering locations.

Now, if the wasps are overwintering in our attics, this same scenario plays out. The difference being, our attics have gaps and cracks around chimneys, recessed lighting and the like. As the attic is dark, and the temperatures warm up the space, the wasps start moving around. They will see the beam of light coming from our living spaces below and think they are going outside.

In fact, they are flying into our living quarters!

We get numerous calls in the Fall for this particular problem. Unfortunately, there isn’t much we can do. I know of other pest control companies that will schedule an appointment and charge accordingly.

This is totally unnecessary. Those few wasps you see can easily be removed with a vacuum hose attachment.

If you would like more information about overwintering wasps, please give us a call at (586) 731-2120. Our trained and certified office personnel will be more than happy to assist you.

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