The Wasp Life Cycle – When Do Wasps Die Off?

The Wasp Life Cycle – When Do Wasps Die Off?

As temperatures begin to rise and we head towards the spring and summer months we will start to see an increase in the number of wasps flying around our gardens and homes which leads to many questions from our clients:

  • When do wasps die off?
  • Do wasps nest in the same place?
  • Where do wasps build their nests?

We’ve put together the following information to give you an insight into the life cycle of a wasp and tips you can implement to prevent them nesting around your home.

When Do Wasps Die Off?

In order to understand when a wasp will die off it is important to consider their lifecycle; wasps, like most insects, go through 4 stages of development:

Once they have achieved adult status, male wasps, or drones as they are often referred to as, tend to die off in the winter – a lack of food and the cold weather conditions mean they struggle to survive.

The Queen wasps hibernate throughout the winter although this doesn’t make them immune to predators who eat them e.g. spiders. There is also the danger that a particularly warm winter will encourage the Queens to come out of hibernation early although a lack of food may cause starvation and they will die off.

Any that survive the winter period immediately start looking for a nest…

Do Wasps Nest In The Same Place?

The ‘Queen’ wasps hibernate over the winter to emerge in spring and, depending on the species, choose a suitable site to start the new nest. Old wasp nests from previous years are not used again although it has been known for the Queen to start her new nest adjacent to or ‘within’ an old nest.

Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wasp_nest_1.jpg

In addition, it is possible for several Queens who survived the winter – normally all from the same previous nest – to start construction of their new nests in close proximity to each other.

The queens start off by collecting wood which they then chew up with their saliva to make a kind of paper mache or wood pulp to begin forming a nest.

Where Do Wasps Build Their Nests?

  • Somewhere they can find shelter from rain and dampness
  • They prefer dark, dry and secluded places
  • Anywhere away from disruption

Some of the following are areas to consider:

1. Check your loft for small holes and gaps as this is the most common way wasps gain entry to loft spaces – seal these holes and use insect mesh to cover air bricks and soffits.

2. Adding light to small places where you may have had nests previously is an effective way to discourage future nest building as wasps do not like light.

3. Inspect areas frequently. Wasps constantly build their nests throughout the spring and summer so make sure you check your must vulnerable areas often.

What To Do If You See Wasps Around Your Property

The sight of wasps flying around your property may lead to the belief that a nest is nearby, however this isn’t always the case as they will naturally come into your garden or home to look for food, water, nest building material etc. You can cut down the instances of ‘free flying wasps’ by following a few simple step:

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polistes_dominula

1. Do not place sweet smelling plants near doors and windows. These plants produce an abundance of nectar and sap which wasps are attracted to.

2. Do not plant fruit trees too close to your house; again, these trees attract wasps.

3. Bins and exposed rubbish should be kept away from your house, make sure bin lids fit and that any damage or holes are sealed.

4. Check wooden garden furniture for ‘white tramlines’ which may indicate that a queen wasp is using it to strip wood for nest building material. Treat wooden furniture with either a shop bought wood treatment product or eucalyptus/menthol/citronella mix in teak oil.

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Wasp insect. Description, features, lifestyle and habitat of wasp

Description and Features

Wasp has a bright color. The drawing on her body is an alternation of black areas with yellow stripes on the body, as well as a similar color pattern on the head and six legs.

Common wasp

This outfit, unfortunately, suggests that this creature is poisonous. Usually, it is customary to name wasps as all stinging flying insects belonging to the suborder of stalked and bellied, with the exception of bees.

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Everything wasp on the picture look the same, however, as well as live, but may vary in size. They have four transparent wings arranged in pairs. In addition, they have a very powerful oral apparatus and facet type eyes, providing the insect with excellent vision. On their feet you can observe claws, allowing such creatures to catch and hold on a variety of surfaces.

With the enemies that exist in the wasp in nature: mammals, birds, lizards and others, this insect has two ways to fight. First of all, the bright color itself serves as a powerful defense.

It scares the enemy, and hunters of different stripes, hungry for prey, lose their appetite when they look at the wasps. Just coloring them in many living things causes unpleasant associations.

Paper wasp

But even if one of the predators foolishly makes attempts to feast on such an insect, after the first misfire, their desire completely disappears. Just the feeling is not very pleasant. And therefore, subsequently, enemies cease making attempts to hunt wasps, having developed a warning reflex in themselves.

But in addition to passive methods of protection, these insects also have active methods. And their poisonous sting helps them in this — an autonomous organ that looks like a dagger blade in appearance and principle of action.

He freely sticks under the skin of the animal, while also without difficulty comes out, pre-injecting his portion of the poison. This organ is located at the end of the abdomen, like a bee, because it is very wasp-like insect, also able to sting.

But the bites of these two poisonous creatures have a number of differences primarily for themselves. Unlike bees that die, at least once using their sharp weapons and leaving it in the body of the enemy, the wasps remain alive.

The photo shows how a wasp stings a person

Moreover, they feel great after a bite and are quite capable of making a new attack. In addition, wasps are endowed with the opportunity to launch not only stings, but powerful jaws during an attack. But, like the bees, these insects, smelling the poison poisoned by a fellow in the enemy’s body, will certainly enter the battle, collectively attacking the object that caused the alarm.

Externally, these insects are certainly similar, but to distinguish them is not very difficult, even by color. If a yellow wasp with black, the stripes on the bee’s body have a slightly different shade, with the addition of orange tones.

Types of wasps

Zoologists described a huge number of varieties of wasps. They differ in the pattern located on the head, usually in front of it. The pattern in most cases is distinguished by clarity, but its shape may be very different. For example, an ordinary wasp has a pattern in the form of an anchor.

Black wasp

Everything types of wasps belong to one of two categories: public representatives of these insects and solitary. What this means will be discussed in the future. First, we describe some of the representatives of these types. And start with the first one.

Paper wasp is a group that includes many subfamilies. About 60 such species are found in the central regions of Europe alone, and there are about a thousand of them around the world.

These insects are also called simply social wasps, because they live in colonies, which have a cohesive and very interesting social structure.

Wasp rider

And their first name — «paper» such wasps deserved because of the way in which they build their nests. This will also be discussed.

Hornets — this is the name of the whole genus from the group of paper wasps. Moreover, its representatives are notable for their considerable size, reaching a length of 55 cm (but these are the largest). Such insects inhabit the Northern Hemisphere, considered to be extinct today, and therefore it is clear that they are not common.

Wasp hornet

Wasp hornet has a considerable width of the top of the head and a rounded abdomen in comparison with other relatives. The poison of such insects is incredibly effective, and therefore their bites are extremely painful. And, as a rule, medical assistance is provided to a person who has suffered from them.

These attacks are all the more dangerous because such an insect can make several injections of poison in a row. Deaths are frequent in people affected by such attacks. Hornets have recently been ranked as real wasps — a family that also includes the subfamilies Vespina and Polistina.

Single wasps, as the name itself broadcasts, differ from social relatives by a natural predisposition to a secluded existence. These insects include the following subfamilies of the aspen kingdom, which are worthy of special mention.

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Flower wasp

1. Flower wasp — small creatures, the length of which usually does not exceed a centimeter. Their food is pollen and nectar of flowers. They build their nests from sand and clay, wetting them with saliva.

Their life cycle, including the larval stage, is about two years. In total, about a hundred varieties of such wasps are known. Usually they spin in places where there is a source of food for them, that is, flowers.

2. Sand wasp. Species of such insects, in comparison with those just described, are much larger. There are about 8800 of them in the world. Their body length can be quite small, about half a centimeter.

Sand wasp

But there are instances and larger. Their sizes reach 2 cm. They are found mainly in the tropics. They feed on insects, previously paralyzing them with their poison. Nests are built in the ground.

The body of most wasps is distinguished by a black and yellow gamut. But there are exceptions, because on the earth live specimens of unusual colors. For instance, black wasps. These insects can be large or medium in size.

Their poison is extremely toxic. They are found mainly in the tropics, but there are varieties that perfectly take root in colder areas. The favorite prey of such creatures are spiders, which they hunt with great skill. And the meat of the victims is used to feed the larvae.

Wasp Pelopeia

In nature, there are also white and red wasp. They are also considered to be absolutely dangerous for representatives of the human race.

Lifestyle & Habitat

Os can be found almost everywhere, in almost every corner of the planet, with the exception of areas particularly unsuitable for life. They prefer to live near a person, because in the immediate vicinity of people and their homes there is always something to feast on.

Now it’s time to talk more about the social structure inherent in paper wasps. It is these representatives of the diversity of species that have already been described that should be given special attention, because when they talk about wasps, they usually mean wild social wasps. Although this is not entirely correct.

The groups into which these insects gather for joint life are close-knit families called colonies. They can have up to 20 thousand members. In such families, a clearly streamlined social structure and division into castes reigns with a certain range of responsibilities.

Wasps and their honeycombs

The uterus is engaged in breeding offspring. Working wasps look after the larvae, feed the rest of the family and guard the common house. The uterus builds a nest out of material resembling paper.

It is produced naturally by the wasps themselves, by chopping wood and mixing this material with its own saliva. Powerful jaws help these creatures build nests.

Such the uterus is able to finely grind a hard tree. Working wasps and drones have an average size of about 18 mm, but the uterus of these insects is slightly larger. Male and female individuals are colored approximately the same, but in females the abdomen is somewhat larger. Single wasps may not build nests, but use minks made by other insects and small rodents.

Wasp certainly a useful insect, successfully destroying the larvae of flies, garden and domestic pests. Eating them, wasps are indispensable, performing their natural function. This becomes especially important in seasons when there are too many harmful insects for natural reasons.

Wasps prefer to eat fruits from plant food, consuming their flesh and juices, as well as plant nectar. This type of food fully satisfies the needs of working wasps.

But they do not so much strive to get enough of themselves as they primarily feed the uterus and its offspring. This is their responsibility. Feeding the wasp larvae, they can also feed on their burps, if it suddenly turns out that there was not enough food for them.

Especially with food it becomes difficult in the autumn, because small insects already disappear during this period. And here wasps, to get food, often show extraordinary courage and ingenuity.

Closer to autumn, they can often be seen flying in large numbers near human housing. They spin there, trying to feast on something from the table of people or some waste.

Reproduction and longevity

Mating of the uterus of the aspen nest, occurring in the autumn period, occurs around October. The males of these insects are called drones, as in bees. The purpose of such a caste of the colony is to mate with the uterus.

They have no other duties. In the fall, the uterus has contact with several drones at once, and receiving their sperm, stores it in its body until the next spring. The males, having fulfilled their natural purpose, soon die. And the uterus for the entire period of severe frost and cold falls into suspended animation.

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With the arrival of heat, she, waking up from hibernation, immediately proceed to the trouble of arranging the nest. From what material the dwelling of an aspen family is built, it has already been said, it should only be added that it consists, like in bees, of cells.

First, the uterus looks for a suitable place for the nest, and then it is engaged in the construction of honeycombs. And all this construction ultimately turns out to be suspended on a branch or in the hollow of a tree or, as often happens, on the ceiling or attic of some structure. A hornet’s nest can be found attached to window frames, in gardens and forests, in abandoned burrows of small rodents.

An egg is laid in each of the cells, the development of which occurs over the next six days. Soon, larvae appear in the combs. First, the uterus, and at a later time, other family members, take care of their feeding. They are served by food, insects carefully minced by chewing.

As time passes, the next stage begins — the chrysalis. The larva turns into it, wrapping itself in a cobweb. This is called a cocoon. After 3 days an adult hatches from it, that is, a wasp in an adult stage.

Mating wasps

It should be noted that the eggs of these insects are not all the same. They can be fertilized or not. From the eggs of the first type comes a new uterus and working wasps. Here everything depends solely on the type of food in the larval stage. Drones give life to unfertilized eggs.

After working wasps emerge from their cocoons, the uterus’s mission of building a nest and feeding offspring ends, now she only cares for new eggs, which she lays three hundred each day.

By mid-summer, young larvae take on responsibilities wasp insects. They build cell honeycombs and feed the uterus itself. By the end of summer, working wasps cease to hatch; in the autumn, only females and drones are born.

In some cases, the uterus can lay its eggs in the fall. The new generation of wasps resulting from them goes in search of a pair for mating outside their native nest. After completing the mission, the males, as usual, die. However, such a fate does not affect females. They hibernate in the spring to form their new colony.

The process of the appearance of a wasp from a larva

Most of the aspen family live in the uterus. Its life span is about 10 months. Working wasps, like drones, live much less — about four weeks.

What to do if a wasp has bitten?

Members of the aspen family guard their nest very zealously. In view of this, those who approach him accidentally or on purpose may have major troubles. One poisonous waspAnd even the family, which has disturbed the nest, is definitely waiting for the most ruthless attack of many insects, which is an order of magnitude more dangerous for health.

The bite of such a creature is painful, and the place where the little dirty woman launched her sting turns red and swells. If this is an ordinary wasp, and not a representative of some particularly poisonous species, then the pain from a bite usually goes away after half an hour. But the swelling remains.

Not only humans, but the wasps themselves may not be flashed guests. As mentioned, in search of food, they are trying to get closer to people. And maybe it happens that a man and a wasp will be loving one treat.

Bringing food to the mouth, it is quite possible not to notice the unbearable creature sitting on it. And then wasp sting it will turn out to be the most painful, because it will launch its sting into the tongue or other delicate tissues in the mouth.

The airways can seriously suffer from this, and their edema can cause asthma attacks. This is especially serious for allergy sufferers, who should remember that when going outdoors, it is always better to have the right medications with you.

The victim of such insects needs to bite the bite site in a timely manner with ice or a wet towel. Plantain is very helpful in such cases. His leaves are first washed, then wrinkled and applied to the affected area. Such compresses should be changed from time to time, and then painful redness and swelling usually disappear quickly.

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