Date Posted: November 28, 2016
Category: Bees & Wasp
It is almost winter in New England. That means you don't have to worry about yellow jackets anymore, right? We really wish we could say yes to this, but the truth is, you can still get stung by yellow jackets even when it is cold outside. While it is true that most yellow jackets die in winter and only the queens survive, those worker wasps may not be dead yet. There are two things you should be aware of.
This is the time of year when colonies are maxed out. Sure, all of those yellow jackets will be dead when it gets cold enough, but they may not be dead yet. These wasps can establish their nests in a wide variety of places. Some build their nests in the ground, which gives them more protection from wind chill. If you step on a ground nest, these aggressive insects will not be concerned about the freezing cold. And, that nest is going to be filled to the brim with yellow jackets this time of year.
Yellow jackets can also establish nests in places that don't get cold enough for them to die. If they find a place that is warm enough, they may even make it through the winter without dying. In warm climates, yellow jackets can produce "super nests" with more than 100,000 individuals living in a single nest. But, here in New England, they usually only find a place that gives them enough protection to survive long enough to surprise someone when they go into a garage, shed, or outbuilding in late fall. Be aware that, just because it is cold outside, this doesn't mean the buildings on your property are free of yellow jackets.
This is the time of year when mature nests have produced male and female reproductives. Before the females hide for the winter, they are actively mating with the male wasps to get fertilized. This can cause male and female yellow jackets to hang out near your eaves, roofline, and around your windows. Make sure your screens are in good condition. These male yellow jackets may also be more aggressive than usual because they have a job to do, and they're on a suicide mission. Be careful.
If you need assistance with yellow jackets, or other invasive stinging pests, let the experts here at Big Blue Bug Solutions establish a plan to keep your property and your home pest-free. You can probably live with stinging and biting pests, but wouldn't it be nicer to live without them? Reach out to us today for immediate assistance.