Although a yellow jacket nest can remain active in colder-than-average temperatures, yellow jackets do die off in the fall. Yellow jackets can survive the cold longer than other insects and bees, but by winter, these yellow jackets usually die.
The queens hibernate or overwinter in wasp nests underground, preparing to form their new colony in spring.
Thus, the cycle begins again, with young larvae emerging as hungry young yellow jackets seeking food. Often, the target of their food is a honeybee hive. Starting with the honeybees and their larvae, followed with the sweet honey for dessert!
Why Should Yellow Jacket Nests be Removed in the Fall?
Most yellow jackets and wasps build a wasp nest in several areas. Sometimes, that place is the ground; this allows them protection from the chilling wind during winter. Should you happen upon a ground nest, wasps become aggressive and no longer worry about how cold it is.
During early fall, these stinging pests enjoy foraging through our food. Also, enjoy the honeydew that scale insects and aphids produce.
A young queen must have sugars in her diet during her development in the late summer. Natural food sources decrease more during the latter summer and early fall months.
Removing the nest in the fall will force her to seek an area for a new site because these stinging pests won't reuse an old nest.
Yellow Jacket Life Cycle
When the temperatures start to get colder, that's when the life cycle of the yellow jacket begins. It is also when fertilized females start their hibernation period.
They prefer natural places to hibernate, like hollow logs or tree stumps. However, often, they pick a structure that is artificial as shelter.
The queen emerges in spring to build a new colony. When the eggs hatch, the queen provides food for the babies with fish, scavenged meat, and other bugs.
Worker wasps die in the cold weather, leaving a queen in hibernation.
Do Yellow Jackets Die in the Winter?
It is true that only the queen of the colony survives, while most bees and yellow jackets perish or die in winter. In the latter summer, early Autumn, food sources begin to decline and the yellow jackets start to die.
If you see yellow jackets near your home, they are searching for an area to hibernate during the cold season. They are also looking for a place to build their paper nests; typically, it will be tree cavities. Sometimes, that place ends up being the inside of your house!
There is one species, the German Yellowjacket or Vespula germanica, they build nests in wall voids, crawlspaces, and attics.
End of Summer Mating
A yellow jacket queen stays in the nest to continue laying eggs even after the first generation has developed. There may be as many as 5,000 workers inside the colony.
In Autumn, the larvae mature, becoming fertile females and males. These wasps in house then fly from the colony, and the end of summer mating begins. Afterward, the male wasps die.
Why Should I Treat My Yellow Jacket Nest in Fall?
As the fall approaches, it doesn't mean to ease up on a yellow jacket problem. Attempting to dust the nest with insecticide might put you at risk of a wasp sting.
The only members of a colony to survive the cold are queens. Yet, they don't use the nest to overwinter in.
First-generation wasps are sterile females. As workers, they broaden the nest, look for food, and care for the queen and her babies.
How Can I Encourage Yellow Jackets Not to Build Their Nests?
Encourage yellow jackets not to construct nests by knocking down any paper nest you might see early on. Doing this early into the season will create a young queen to seek another area to start her colony.
Since there will be less activity, she might join another colony and be a worker. Once the population has grown, it will be easier to recognize where the nest is.
It is impractical to attempt removing a nest or controlling cavity-dwelling or subterranean yellowjackets.
Contact Us to Get Rid of Yellow Jackets in the Fall
Attempting DIY pest control isn't wise, particularly if you have an aggressive population of yellow jackets.