Where Do Wasps Go in the Winter? {Knowing This Will Save You Next Spring}

Do you ever see wasps when it starts to get cold outside? Where do wasps go in the winter? Do they all die?

Are they hiding in their nest or somewhere else where we can’t find them? Is it safe to remove a wasp nest in the winter?

The power of the queen or female wasp who starts her colony in the spring and gets her workers to spend months constructing the nest is incredible. Where does the queen wasp go in the winter?

In this article, we’ll find out everything there is to know about, Where do wasps go in the winter?

Where Do Wasps Go in the Winter?

At the first sign of frost or early fall when the temperature begins to drop, so does the population of worker wasps. By the time winter rolls around, the nest will be emptied out and the queen’s colony will be no more.

It is now time for any newly hatched females to find solitary hiding spaces that are safe, warm and secure to hibernate for the rest of the winter until spring arrives. These locations could end up becoming your attic, basement, shed, vents, crawl spaces or even a closet.

At this point, each female queen will come out of her semi-dormant hibernation and begin scouting a location to build a new nest. She will soon be joined by a new population of worker wasps to help and serve her.

How Does a Queen Wasp Survive the Winter?

The queen wasp is the only one that can survive the winter compared her workers who all end up dying out before the winter even begins.

She’s the only one who can produce an antifreeze that can aid in her survival when she reaches a torpid state that will last for several months.

As long as she finds a safe location that may end up becoming a site inside your home, she will be able to make it until the spring. At this point she would be able to emerge from this area and fly out to start looking for a new location to build a new nest.

Where Do Queen Wasps Go in the Winter?

The worker wasps are usually males or infertiles that will leave the nest during the fall. After only a few more weeks, the entire population inside the nest will be dead. The queen may or may not survive this turn of season as well.

New queens can be born during this time. They will be inseminated and fly off on their own away from the nest to seek out warm, dry places to hibernate. They will look for areas such as:

  • Inside the trunk of an old tree
  • Under a rock
  • Inside a garage or shed
  • In a crawl space
  • Under decks
  • In vents

Once the weather warms up, spring sets, these queen wasps are able to rebuild their separate colonies inside brand new nests.

Where Do Yellow Jacket Wasps Go in the Winter?

Yellow Jackets begin their life cycle in the winter. A fertilized yellow jacket queen needs to start the entire process through hibernation.

She will try to hibernate in a natural area such as an old tree stump or a hollow log. Some may choose structures that we have built in our own properties around our backyards and possibly even in our homes.

During this point, the queen yellow jacket will be able to produce an antifreeze that protects her until the season is over. Afterwards, she can emerge in order to find a safe spot to begin her new colony.

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Where Do Paper Wasps Go in the Winter?

Paper wasps mostly die off and only the remaining females will remain alive as they exit their nests in search of small crevices, voids or cracks that are out of sight and warm enough to survive.

The state at which they enter is like hibernation, but it’s referred to as diapause. They are able to suspend their activity and development throughout the coldest months of the year while remaining dormant until the weather warms up.

After this point, all female paper wasps will become queens of their own colonies if they can find a safe location and begin building their own nests to lay their eggs.

Is It Safe to Remove a Wasp Nest in Winter?

Yes. In the coldest months of the year, wasp nests are unoccupied. This means that worker wasps have died off and the remaining female queen has already exited her previous home.

The wasp’s nest will be easier to remove at this time. You should still take precautions such as covering up and wearing goggles while keeping your distance.

Chances are, there will be no remaining wasps inside the nest and they will not be capable of stinging you because they will be inactive or dead.

What Temperature Do Wasps Die?

Wasps begin to die at temperatures of 60 to 70 degrees. This begins to happen during the fall. Once the weather starts getting colder most wasps die off.

The only wasps that stay alive are the females who are inseminated and ready to hide by seeking shelter without the need to create a new nest until the following spring.

Female wasps will be looking for a safe spot such as your home. If they can find an entryway into your attic, crawl space, basement, shed or even through the vents of your bathroom, they will do so.

What Do Wasps Do During the Winter?

Wasps die during the winter. Only queens or female wasps that are going to become a queen for the following year will be the survivors.

They are the only ones hardly enough to protect themselves with a type of antifreeze protection that will ensure that they can safely hibernate as long as they find a safe spot.

Unfortunately, these spots can become well hidden locations throughout your home. You may even find one female wasp hiding in the corner of your closet.

They may find their way through the vents of your bathroom or find their way into cracks and crevices that could even lead to the attic of your home.

How Do Wasps Survive the Winter?

Most wasps don’t survive the winter. Wasps are only alive to build nests and serve their queen rank too low on the priority list to receive enough nutrition or warmth to remain alive over the winter.

The queen or females that are already inseminated will be equipped and nourished to protect themselves while they seek hibernation in various spots that could end up becoming areas of your home where you least notice them.

There will be a single solitary female and no others that are hiding in this spot all alone for the entire winter hoping to not be disturbed by you or anyone else.

If you can find this female and eliminate her before she begins a new colony, you are saving yourself from a future headache for the following spring when she lays her eggs.

Are Wasps Active in Winter?

No. Temperatures begin to drastically drop during the fall and as the weather gets colder, wasps begin to die in massive numbers. The only survivors will be the females who have been inseminated and designated to become the future queens for the following year.

They will look for places that are protected like underneath a tree bark or any cracks and crevices around structures that are made by humans which includes our own properties.

These females are already sexually mated and are ready to hibernate for the winter. A mated queen is also called a foundress. The following spring, she will be able to construct a nest and lay eggs in there.

What Should I Do If I Find Wasps in My Home During Winter?

If wasps are able to make a nest in a warm area inside your home during the winter, they will still be hibernating and inactive. If any of them are still alive over the winter, it will be easier to remove them because they will be lethargic or sluggish.

You can still set wasp traps around the home or contact a pest control company to remove that nest. You could even place an open water bottle with sugar inside it to see if wasps will come out of the nest and make their way inside the bottle.

They will most likely be stuck and not be able to get out. They will not have the energy to do so. In most cases, wasps are not going to survive the winter. It is not in their genetic makeup.

Only females that are inseminated will have a chance of survival if they find a comfortable and hidden location to hibernate over the winter.

What Do Wasps Do in Spring?

Wasps in the spring begin with a female queen who has emerged from her overwintering spot and is now able to seek out a new location to build a nest.

She was able to enter a state of diapause or a semi dormant faze when she was torpid, but able to protect herself with a type of antifreeze covering to stay warm during the cold months.

She may have been lucky enough to find a spot inside a place in your home such as a shed, loft, attic, basement or even in the vents of your home. Now, she is ready to fly in the spring to find the best spot to begin building her next to where she can lay her first eggs.

Do Wasps In Winter Die?

Yes. Wasps are able to produce incredibly large nests that can support thousands of workers who will not be able to survive the winter season. They may not even make it to winter at all.

When the temperature drops to about 60 to 70 degrees in the early fall, massive numbers of these worker wasps will begin dropping off. They will be malnourished and they will not receive any food.

When their activity levels drop, the queen will be prioritized. Newly hatched females will be mated and inseminated to become future queens of their own colony the following season.

Do Winter Wasps Hibernate In Houses?

Yes. Winter wasps are usually the females who have been mated and inseminated as they are the only remaining survivors of a previous nest that was evacuated during the fall.

She is now looking for a warm place to hibernate and your home could be the perfect spot. A female wasp is going to be difficult to find in your home.

You will have to look at many possible nesting locations including the following:

  • Sheds
  • Garages
  • Extension roofs
  • Lofts
  • Attics
  • Woodpiles
  • Rodent burrows
  • Tree stumps
  • Under rocks
  • Under decks
  • Inside vents

The possible locations that a female wasp may find comfortable for her to hibernate for the winter are endless.

If you can find a hibernating female inside your home and eliminate her, you will save yourself the possibility of a wasp nest forming the following year during the spring and summer.

What Happens to Wasps and Hornets in the Winter?

Wasps and hornets during the winter will die in the early to late fall. The only survivors are the mated queens.

Hornets and wasps share the same similarities when they have to construct their nests in the spring and summer, but will have to ditch them once their workers die off.

In rare cases, they will return back to the same nest and try to rebuild them. A queen remains inseminated over the winter while she hibernates and waits for the weather to warm up again.

She will find her old nest or create a new one to lay her eggs for new workers to hatch. They will assist her to build another intricate nest.

The queen will continue producing eggs and by the end of the season she will produce more new queens. These queens are the only ones that will be able to leave their nest for the winter and survive. All other remaining wasps or hornets will die.


The colonies of wasps include many males that work hard during the spring and summer to construct nests and a number of these males will be able to mate with future queens.

By the time the weather begins to cool off in the early fall, most of these males will already be dead. By the end of the fall, there will be no more survivors except for these inseminated female wasps that will be ready to find their own location to hibernate for the winter.

The spring is the start of a whole new cycle of life for new colonies of wasps for each inseminated female wasp who is now a queen. The process of nest building begins all over again.


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