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How Long Does a Wasp Nest Last? What You Need to Know

Rowan Burgess |

No matter how you spend your time outside in the summer, you may have found yourself swatting away at a wasp or two. However, dealing with an entire nest and its queen is a different story. A 2017 study released by Michigan State University that a single wasp nest can contain anywhere from several dozen to two thousand insects and multiple queens.

To avoid the trouble that these pests can cause, you need to implement a pest control strategy as efficiently as possible. 

Though these insects thrive in warm weather, their nests are not just issues in the summer. They can plague your yard and home in spring and autumn as well. 

Read on to learn more about wasp nests and what to do about their presence.  

How Long Does a Wasp Nest Last?

Wasp nests typically last anywhere between three to four months. Even if a wasp nest dies off by winter, it can come back after winter when conditions are once again ideal.

These insects typically start building their nests in the spring when the weather warms up. Once spring ends and summer begins, the nest will grow in size. As summer comes to a close, autumn will bring cooler weather.

As a result, autumn means it’s time for the worker wasps to prepare for hibernation. Once winter settles in, the queens will hibernate and most workers will die off. Some queens may die during hibernation due to predators, but this is a natural part of the cycle.

After winter, the queen wasps will re-emerge and build a new nest. The queens will lay new eggs within the new nest’s cells and make way for new queens and workers to take over. 

What Happens If You Leave a Wasp Nest Alone?

If you leave a wasp nest alone, it will not die off completely. You will need to implement wasp nest removal strategies to get rid of it for good. Without a pest control strategy, the following risks will prevent themselves:

You & Your Family Will Be at Risk for Stings

Unlike bees, wasps can sting a human several times during a single attack and throughout their lifespans. 

While most queen wasp stings are not life-threatening, they can still produce some undesirable effects. Those who are allergic to stings can experience swelling and redness that can last for up to three days, according to Healthline.

Some people with a severe allergy to this pest’s venom will undergo something called anaphylaxis. This can produce some severe side effects including:

  • A racing or weak pulse
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Dizziness
  • Gasping, wheezing, or other difficulties with breathing
  • Hives in areas of the body not affected by the sting

If you or a family member experience any of these symptoms following a sting, you will need to seek immediate medical attention. 

To avoid the health consequences of a wasp sting, it is best to remove any nests from your property as efficiently as possible. 

Your Yard May Be in Danger

As long as their nests are located far away from humans’ space, wasps are generally regarded as beneficial pollinators. They also prey on plant-damaging caterpillars and other insects.

While it is true that most species are good for your yard, some are actually dangerous. The Missouri Botanical Garden website notes a couple of ways that wasps can be dangerous:

  • Some species strip away bark from willows, boxwoods, and lilacs to create their paper nests
  • The giant hornet (which is a type of wasp) gnaws at perennial plants like the dahlia

It’s worth considering wasp nest removal to protect your landscape, especially if the structure is close to your home or outdoor living area.

Should I Remove a Wasp Nest in My Yard?

In most instances, yes. You may be able to leave nests that are far away from your property alone without any consequences. 

If you attempt to remove the structure on your own, do so at night. The insects and their queen are less active at this time, so your chances of being stung won’t be as high. 

Will Wasps Return To a Destroyed Nest?

If a structure was destroyed by natural occurrences, wasps and their queen may attempt to rebuild in the same location. 

Where they build their homes will depend on factors like the type of poison used and if the queen survived the destruction. 

If wasps discover that their home has been destroyed, they will likely find a way to rebuild it. Here are some tips for preventing these insects and their queen from rebuilding their home on your property:

Set Up a Fake Structure

Wasps are very territorial insects. In a lot of instances, they will not build a new structure in a location that’s already inhabited. 

As part of their pest control strategy, some homeowners will set up an artificial structure at the start of summer. This can trick wasps into thinking that the territory is taken up. 

These fake structures feature the same patterns and shapes as real ones do. Wasps that are considering your home as a breeding ground will think twice when they see your artificial home set up.

Consider setting up several fake nests around your property to deter these insects from rebuilding on your landscape. 

Contaminate the Old Nest with Poison

If you have destroyed a nest in your yard, don’t leave it in a usable condition. Contaminate it with additional poison to make it undesirable for the pests to return and attempt to start over. 

During the contamination process, you will kill off any leftover pests of the previous colony. Plus, this pest control strategy will make the nest itself useless for future colonies.

Sabotage Building Sites

Wasp nests are often found in dry, sheltered areas. With this in mind, you need to sabotage these pests’ ideal building sites however possible. One way to do this is to remove enticing elements like pet food, strong perfumes and lotions, uncovered trash cans, and left-out food from around your home and property. 

Frequently Asked Questions

When Do Wasps Leave the Nest?

Wasp nests are typically abandoned during late autumn or early winter when cold weather sets in. As the temperature drops, the workers and the queen die off, which often coincides with the arrival of the first ground frost between October and December.

What Time of Day Do Wasps Leave Their Nest?

When wasp nests are at their peak size during mid-to-late summer, the workers show a heightened urge to leave the nest first thing in the morning and are active throughout the day.

How Many Wasps Are in a Nest?

Larger common wasp nests can reach up to 10,000 wasps during the height of summer; however, such large nests are rare. On average, common wasp nests typically contain between 3,000 to 6,000 wasps.


No matter if it’s spring, summer, or autumn, dealing with wasp nests can be frustrating. The pests are stubborn and won't go away without a fight. 

Here at Dalton Engineering, we have the insecticides you need to destroy nests and prevent these pests from infiltrating your yard and home. As you create a pest control strategy for kicking these insects off your property, keep this guide in mind!