Yellow jacket nests do not last very long. They start out in the spring, and by the time winter rolls around, most of their members are dead, with the exception of a handful of queens.
It all starts in the spring, when the queens that have survived the winter come out of hibernation. Spring is a dangerous season for wasps, because it is warm enough for them to become active, but there is still the possibility that temperatures will get low enough to kill them off. During the spring, the queen will start a new nest, or occupy an existing one that has been abandoned.
These initial stages are tough for the queen – it will have to take care of everything, from laying the eggs, to feeding and rearing the young, and building the nest. Once the first group of workers reach maturity however, they will take over all the work related tasks, and the queen will take on a purely reproductive role. From there, the colony will grow, and if it survives the spring, the summer will bring plenty of food sources and warm temperatures. More and more wasps will go out to forage for food, and the warm weather speeds up their metabolism, making them more aggressive.
Soon enough, fall starts to come around. Food supplies dwindle slowly, and the temperature drops steadily. This creates desperation in the colony, and the wasps are even more aggressive than they were during the summer. As the temperatures go down, more and more worker wasps start to die, and only a new group of queens will survive the coming winter by going into hibernation.
This is the life cycle of the wasp nest, and it is how wasps increase their overall population each year. The only purpose of a nest is to spawn new queens for the next year, with a majority of its inhabitants in any year dying off.
However, just because the nest has a short lifespan does not mean that you can just wait it out if you have one on your property. Wasp nests are very dangerous, and you, your family or your pets can be attacked if you get too close to it.
In order to remove the nest, you will need the help of a pro who will first remove the wasp population and then destroy the nest structure itself. Contact us for more information about yellow jackets and for yellow jacket control services.