What Happens to Yellow Jackets in the Winter & Other Seasonal Impacts


When it comes to pesky stinging bugs, the yellow jacket stands out as a formidable contender. This insect is known for its ability to sting repeatedly, its strong instinct to protect its nest, and its relentless pursuit of prey. Yellow jacket swarms are quite tenacious and will even navigate around obstacles or patiently hover above water to reach their target. But have you ever wondered what happens to yellow jackets during the winter months?

Let’s explore how winter and other seasonal weather impacts these buzzing insects. But before anything else, let’s get to know them and their behavior.

What are Yellow Jackets?

Yellow jackets have a tendency to create nests in the ground, which can lead to various issues. The slightest disturbance caused by activities like mowing the lawn or moving a bush with deep roots near their nest can trigger these wasps and make them aggressive.

Even more concerning is their attraction to a wide range of foods, including sweets and meats. This often lures them to outdoor events like cookouts, picnics, or gatherings where food is present. They are not selective eaters and can feast on anything from the trash can to a fully laid-out BBQ spread with sweets.

So it’s no surprise everybody wants to get rid of these nasty pests. Fortunately, yellow jackets die off for the season. Let’s find out more below.

How Different Seasons Affect Yellow Jackets

When dealing with the challenge of avoiding stings from these pests, it’s crucial to know your adversary. Since the weather plays a significant role in the life of yellow jackets, let’s begin there. Here are some ways seasonal weather influences these insects.


Yellow jackets will die during winter since they can’t withstand freezing temperatures, and it proves fatal for them. During winter, a yellow jackets nest can only survive if it manages to find a warm and controlled environment, such as an attic, heated shed, or a wall void. If a yellow jacket nest manages to survive the winter, it will continue to grow. If left unaddressed, it could lead to the formation of a super nest with a large population of these wasps.


Sudden cold spells in the springtime can be fatal for yellow jackets. While it might not be enjoyable for us, these unexpected cold spikes can significantly impact the yellow jacket populations, not only during spring but throughout the entire year. So, the next time you find yourself complaining about a chilly day in spring, keep in mind that it actually helps to decrease the presence of these stinging pests.


Yellow jackets thrive during the summer season. The hot weather boosts their energy levels, making them active and efficient in searching for food. Moreover, the abundance of food sources for the critters they like to eat keeps the yellow jackets content and less likely to sting.

During warm summer days, people spend more time outdoors, often cooking food. This can directly provide a food source for yellow jackets or indirectly through discarded food and trash. Drought conditions are particularly favorable for yellow jackets. It offers them more nesting options, lowers the risk of nest evacuation, and makes hunting for meals easier for these wasps.

During the summer, when the humidity is high, yellow jackets may face difficulties in moving around and finding food. This can make them more aggressive and likely to sting humans. It’s better to avoid them on muggy days.

On the other hand, excessive rain is unfavorable for yellow jackets. Rainwater can flood their ground nests, forcing them to leave. Additionally, it fills up potential nesting locations, leading yellow jackets to seek shelter in human-made structures.


As winter’s cold weather approaches, it pushes yellow jackets into a state of intense feeding activity. This might lead them to come into contact with humans during the last warm afternoons of fall. Additionally, they might start exploring holes in door and window screens during this time.

Problems You Need to Deal with when Facing Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are notorious for their stinging behavior, and their stings can cause not only pain but also pose a danger, especially to certain individuals. For those allergic, a yellow jacket sting can even be fatal.

These wasps build their nests in the ground, and when someone or a pet unknowingly approaches the nest and creates vibrations, it triggers an aggressive swarm of yellow jackets ready to sting repeatedly to defend their home. Even distant activities like mowing the lawn can transmit vibrations through the ground, causing a similar response.

Yellow jackets are relentless in pursuit of their victims, and they can chase them around obstacles without giving up. Jumping into water as an escape is futile since these wasps will linger longer than a person can hold their breath.

How to Get Rid of These Buzzing Pests

To ensure safety, it’s crucial to have yellow jacket nests removed professionally, as attempting it without the right knowledge and equipment can be dangerous. Reach out to a reputable pest control company for help.

To deter yellow jackets, take these measures:

  • Get rid of sweet food sources that attract them.
  • Seal up any gaps or openings in your home where nests could be built.
  • Eliminate sources of protein, like other insects, from your yard, as this reduces the likelihood of yellow jackets appearing.
  • Use tight-fitting lids to cover trash bins.
  • Clear away yard debris that could serve as potential nest sites.

When Do Yellow Jackets Die?

As previously stated, Yellow Jackets are highly influenced by the weather, and they seek out safe and warm places to call home. Only after enduring 5-7 consecutive days of temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit will Yellow Jackets succumb to the effects of weather exposure and perish.

Fending Off Yellow Jackets by Knowing Their Behaviours

Yellow jackets are formidable stinging insects known for their aggressive behavior, multiple stings, and attraction to various food sources. They create nests in the ground and can become a nuisance, especially during the warm summer months when outdoor activities and food availability increase. However, understanding their behavior and the impact of seasonal weather on their population can help us better manage and avoid encounters with these buzzing pests.

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