Wasps are rarely a problem over the winter, but when spring and summer arrive, the population will quickly grow and start causing difficulties for homeowners. So, how do wasps survive the winter? And what can be done to prevent them from taking up residence in your home and yard?
By Kathy Jones (My Nikon D40x) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Wasp Life Cycle
To understand how wasps overwinter, it is important to understand the wasp’s life cycle. At the start of spring, a mated female will emerge from hibernation to start a new colony. She will immediately find nectar to eat and then find a suitable place to build a nest. From there, she will start to lay eggs. These eggs will all be female workers that will take over the majority of the work in the nest as they grow.
Throughout the summer, the nest will increase in size as the queen continues to lay eggs. At a certain point, the queen wasp will decide to lay eggs that will be the future reproductive drones and queens. It is not known exactly how this is done, but it is believed that the queen creates these future reproductives by feeding them special hormones.
As fall approaches, the male drones and future queens leave the nest to mate. The old queen will stop laying eggs, and the colony will start to die off. This is usually not due to cold weather, but due to starvation because the pollen and nectar that they feed on is not available. The worker wasps will then leave the nest in search of food. This is the time of year when wasps become nuisances to humans because they are in desperate search of sugary foods and drinks. These worker wasps will slowly die as winter sets in.
Meanwhile, the mated females will find a sheltered place to “hibernate” through the winter. This hibernation is called diapause and is when the wasp’s development is suspended. When the weather warms during the Spring, the queens will emerge and start the cycle over again.
So, how does this relate to wasp control? Knowing about the wasp life cycle can give you valuable information about how to keep them away from your home. Since queens are forming their nests during the Spring, it is effective to have your home sprayed with a residual pesticide that will keep wasps and other insects away from your house. You can also easily knock down these small nests from rafters, under eaves, etc. because they will most likely have a very limited population.If you can keep the female wasps from creating a nest close to your home, you will have less problems later on.
The life cycle also explains why wasps become such a nuisance in the fall. The populations are the biggest at that time of year, and they are all in desperate search of food. Simple preventive measures at this time of year can keep wasps away from your home and family. Try some of these simple tips:
- Clean up overripe fruit or vegetables from your yard
- Cover rubbish bins with tight-fitting lids
- Keep compost piles away from the home
- If dining outside, cover food and drinks and put away dirty dishes quickly
- Do not try to knock-down large nests because wasps are aggressive and can sting multiple times
- Call a Pest Control Company
If you are having wasp problems now or just want to get a jump on preventing them, Radar Pest Control can help. Our team of excellent technicians knows how to safely deal with wasps so that you and your family don’t have to. We will come out to your home and develop a customized treatment plan to get rid of the wasps. For Sunshine Coast Wasp Control, contact Radar Pest Control today.