Thanks to the beautiful weather in September, we are still dealing with wasp enquiries in October. This is not the ideal time of year to treat a wasps’ nest, so we thought an article to explain why would be useful.
As the nest reaches its maximum size towards the end of summer/beginning of autumn the queen will lay queen eggs and drone eggs. Each nest will produce around 1000/1500 new queens. Once these eggs have been laid, the existing queen will not lay any further eggs. These eggs hatch out and when they have pupated they turn into virgin queens (substantially larger than worker wasps) and male drone wasps. They leave the nest and navigate to special mating areas. In most species of social wasp, the young queens mate in the vicinity of their home nest and do not travel like their male counterparts do. The young queens will then hibernate for the winter once the other worker wasps and founder queen have started to die off.
The adult worker wasps that are left in the nest now have no food source. This is when wasps can become a problem as they go looking for other food sources and often cross paths with humans.
When we treat a wasps’ nest, we rely on the help of the wasp itself to come into contact with the insecticidal dust taking it back into the nest. The colony becomes contaminated and the nest dies. Next seasons queens may leave their nest in late summer and not return to it, thus avoiding any pest control action which may then be taken against the nest. When the weather cools, perhaps several weeks after they left the nest, these Queen Wasps might try to get into your house in order to hibernate.
If you decide to leave a wasps’ nest to its natural fate then as the weather gets colder and autumn arrives, food diminishes and the remaining adult wasps and old queens will die off due to starvation. By winter most average size nests have died but occasionally a large nest will survive longer if enough food can be found.