The cold does affect wasps and severe frosts can kill adult wasps (Queen wasps are resistant to frosts once in hibernation) but generally the cold weather just slows down wasps and can even extend their life. The reason for this is that the lower temperature will slow down the metabolism of the wasps so they don’t suffer ‘burn out’, unlike wasps in the height of summer when they may be active for over 15 daylight hours and then still work fanning the wasp nest at night to keep it cool. Worker wasps working in hot conditions are thought to have a lifespan of 6-8 weeks whereas wasps operating in lower temperatures and shorter days will live much longer. When the days are colder and shorter wasps may remain inactive for days at a time, only becoming active once the days become warm enough. This process cannot continue forever, and eventually the whole nest (apart from the ‘new’ Queen wasps) will die out.
So, does cold kill wasps? The short answer to this question is ‘No’!
Cold weather wasp problems arise when the wasp nest is in a house and it becomes affected by the artificial conditions of heat and light supplied by houses – without this artificial stimulation the wasp nest would pose no more problem. These artificial conditions can draw wasps out of nests and into contact with people. Wasps that are ‘pulled’ out of a nest in these conditions are more likely to sting people, and in fact we find that more people get stung by wasps from October to December than in the height of summer.
PEST UK can treat wasp nests or the areas in a house afected by wasp problems in cold weather, either by treating the nest directly and/or applying a residual insecticide and/or ‘fogging’ insecticide treatment to give relief to the wasp problem. It must be remembered that any inserted treatment when insects are cold takes much longer (wasp problems treated in December may take 2-3 weeks to work.
Please call PEST UK to book a wasp nest treatment (or any pest control problem) on: 0330 100 2811 (local rate) or free phone on landlines and some mobiles: 0800 026 0308.
Wasp Information from the BPCA