The Life Cycle of a Wasp

wasp emerging from nest - costa mesa wasp nest removalHoney bees, wasps and other insects inevitably come with warmer temperatures and sunny days. You may find them annoying or even frightening, urging you to seek Costa Mesa wasp nest removal services. Perhaps you can’t wait for colder days that will free you of these pests.

However, even unusually cold weather won’t affect wasps and save you the trouble next spring. The wasp life cycle will continue, as newly-created wasp queens hibernate over the winter to start a new annual life cycle again.

The queen wakes up

Queen wasps hibernate through winter. Most will indeed die, not because of cold weather but other predatory insects, such as spiders. Those that survive, wake up with warm days announcing the spring. Since wasps don’t use their old nests, queens have to look for a place to build their new home.

In the spring, nectar from flowers and other plants is the primary food source of wasps. This is when they play their important role as pollinators, side by side with honey bees. Adult wasps will also feed on nectar in the spring and early summer.

Building the nest

Once they find an appropriate location, queens start constructing their nests. Paper wasps, yellow jackets and hornets build their nests out of a paper substance. Depending on the species, wasp nests have notable architectural differences. They can construct their nests above or below ground.

The queen will collect wood and other materials for nesting that she will then chew, shred and mix with saliva and wax. The paste she makes is used for building the nest. The queen will attach the nest to something sturdy and build stacked combs with cells.

Building the team

Then the queen begins laying eggs one by one in the cells within her nest. When these eggs hatch into larvae, the queen feeds them with protein-rich substance from other insects she catches. Later, adult wasps will also help out in the nurturing. In return, workers will feed on a sugary liquid that wasp larvae produce.

Just like a caterpillar that turns into a butterfly, when they are at the right stage of development, wasp larvae will spin their silk caps and pupate, hatching into female worker wasps. Once they reach maturity, worker wasps will continue the process of nest building.

The wasp nest will continue to grow as the workers collect more material to further build the nest and collect the food to nurture the larvae. This leaves the queen free to keep laying eggs and building the workforce. She can lay approximately a hundred eggs per day.

The next generation

Towards the end of the summer, the nest will reach its maximum size and become a home to more than 20,000 wasps. At this point, the wasp queen lays queen eggs and drone eggs, producing between 1000 and 1500 new queens. Once her work is done and these new eggs pupate and turn into virgin queens and male drone wasps, they will leave their nest in search of mating areas.

It’s interesting that wasp nests seem to synchronize so drones can mate with queens from a different colony. They can recognize wasps from the same nest and avoid interbreeding.

After mating, the drones will die and the now fertilized queens will find a place to hibernate during the winter.

The end of the nest

With no wasp larvae in the nest, the remaining worker wasps are left with no food source. There is no more sugary liquid provided by larvae, which means wasps need to look outside of the nest for other food sources. This is when they often cross paths with humans. Searching for food that contains sugar, hungry wasps fly around our garbage cans and invade our picnics.

As the weather gets colder and the winter approaches, food diminishes so worker wasps and old queens die of starvation. Most nests will die by the beginning of winter, though occasionally a large nest can survive longer if enough food can be found.

Need Costa Mesa wasp nest removal?

If you live in Orange County and have a wasp problem in your home, hire a professional pest control company to perform a safe and effective Costa Mesa wasp nest removal. Bee Busters specializes in honey bee and wasp removal and offer the most reliable pest control services to Orange County residents.

If you have located a wasp nest on your property, don’t hesitate to call us anytime at (949) 247-8446 or (714) 731-1959. We will deal with your uninvited guests and handle any pest emergency you may have!