When do wasps die? Why wasps are trying to get inside your home

If you’ve been noticing more wasps bouncing off your windows recently, here’s why.

Monday, 27th September 2021, 10:05 am

Nobody likes wasps. Bumblebees might be cute, honeybees produce honey, but for most people, wasps are only a nuisance.

You might well have noticed more of the stinging insects bumping into windows or sneaking their way through cracks and into your home recently. While they’re most likely not welcome guests, there is a good reason for them doing it.

Here’s why this is a bad time of year to be a wasp.

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Autumn is a tricky time to be a wasp. Photo: Canva Pro.

What do wasps eat?

Wasps eat nectar for the most part, as well as other insects and fallen fruit. All three of these food sources start to disappear in winter months when the days grow colder.

The male wasps, known as workers, have spent the spring and summer months feeding and looking after the queen and her next batch of eggs. They source food and bring it back to the nest, as well as maintaining and expanding the size of the nest.

They will only eat enough to sustain themselves, whereas the queen wasp will eat much more in order to lay healthy eggs and continue further generations within the nest.

What do wasps do in winter?

When it comes to winter, the queen wasp goes into hibernation during the colder months, as there’s not enough food to sustain her energy levels at this time. During milder winters, a queen might wake up early, confused by the warmer weather, which can cause issues as there's still not enough food sources for her.

As a result, the male wasps are left to essentially fend for themselves, with no need for them to feed the queen or tend to the nest any longer.

When do wasps die off in the UK?

A common misconception is that wasps die after they sting you. Unlike bees, whose stinger is attached to internal organs and is not pulled out when they sting. As a result, they will likely survive stinging you, unless you squash them fast enough. In fact, wasps are known to sting the same person or creature several times if they feel the need to.

However, wasps, especially male ones, still don’t have particularly long lifetimes. Due to the lack of food in winter, male wasps almost entirely die off in the colder months, giving way for a new generation to hatch in the spring.

The majority of wasps will die off in the UK from cold or starvation, but some are also eaten by other insects or spiders.

Even the older queen will often die off in the winter months, once a younger queen hatches from the eggs she laid in the summer.

There's no specific time where wasps will certainly die. A particularly early cold spell might kill off many of them, but they will likely start to die off from mid-September to late October.

Why are wasps trying to get inside my house?

Because of the increasingly harsh conditions the wasps are facing in the autumn months, wasps are commonly seen trying to get inside people’s houses in search of a warmer sanctuary.

What’s more, with plants and flowers dying off outside, the sweeter scents of human food inside houses might often seem like the best (or only) possible food source for the last few wasps of the season.