By Chris Williams on March 28, 2017.

At this time of year, we get calls from homeowners who are suddenly seeing wasps inside their homes, sometimes with snow still on the ground! How could there already be a nest inside, they ask? These wasps don’t have a nest yet, but that’s what they’re planning on. What these folks are seeing are paper wasp queens who have overwintered in hiding somewhere in the house…often in the attic (see Paper Wasps Inside in Spring?). Does this scenario sound familiar?


Early last fall when the weather started to get cooler, wasp nests around your home stopped producing new wasps and began to decline. The worker wasps died, but new queens were produced with the sole purpose of mating and starting new nests the following spring. In the meantime, these young queens need to make it through the winter by hiding in a protected place. Outdoors, that might be under bark, logs, siding, or shingles. But if paper wasps queens can find their way into an attic through an opening around the roofline, even better. If the attic doesn’t suit, other good indoor hiding places are in wall voids, behind baseboards or draperies, under carpet edges, and in various cracks and crevices.

Once inside, the paper wasps just hunker down and become inactive, waiting for signals that spring has arrived at last. Sometimes they will get confused if we have an extra warm, sunny period in mid-winter. They might emerge early and bumble around, heading for windows or lights and looking for a way back outside. Since the wasps are usually sluggish and slow as they emerge in early spring, they can be easily swatted or vacuumed. They’re not aggressive, but they are still capable of stinging if handled.


If you have large numbers of overwintering wasps in your home, it’s an indication that you had a lot of nests either in or on your home or property during the previous summer. The emerging queens that get outside will soon be looking for places to build their new nests (see Paper Wasps Are Scouting Your Home for Nest Sites!). Paper wasps build those open-celled nests that look like umbrellas missing a handle. Nests typically appear on porches, under eaves, behind shutters, around window frames, under deck railings, and in other places on your house that are sheltered from weather.

We can help you out by removing these nests early, as they are being built, and before there are large numbers of wasps (see Now is the Time to Block Wasps From Building Nests). You should also ask us about our Semi-Annual Preventive Perimeter Treatment. This service to your home in late summer/early fall will help keep wasps and other insects from moving indoors for the winter. We can also help pest-proof your home against wasp entry by sealing openings that allow them inside. Give Colonial Pest a call today!

Photo Credit : By AlvesgasparOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link



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