Bees in the house? A summer problem only?

Bees in the house or should I say wasps? Many people including many professionals use the word interchangeably.  Many, including myself will also tell you that wasps in Connecticut are dead and gone after several freezes.  I’m writing this blog post to admit I was wrong, sort of.

Bees in the house along with a full nest

It’s my first day back in the office after a 4 day Thanksgiving holiday.  As is my usual routine I get a coffee and head to the office.  Upon arrival I had a note on my desk from a service person asking me to call him as soon as I got in.

I made the call and this particular technician was in an attic already in Ridgefield, Ct exterminating a “bees nest”.  I immediately went into business owner mode and told him to stop!  There are no wasps at this time of the year it’s only overwintering queens or worse honeybees.  Its been freezing at night it must be honeybees (we do not treat honeybees).

I got ahold of the technician and he said “well boss I’m telling you you’re wrong , they’re yellow jackets and they’re very much alive, I’ll send you a picture”.

Wasps in attic
Wasp nest in the attic in December with over 200 active wasps

The picture to the right is of a fully active yellow jacket nest 3 days from December 1st with average evening temps of 25-33 degrees.

How yellow jackets live

Yellow jackets are a social wasp. This means that they can have large colonies that consist of males, females and a queen.  The males and the queens are produced in the late summer, they mate and the remaining members of the colony die.  The following spring the life cycle starts completely over again.

It’s a fairly straight forward concept to grasp, but what I just saw with my own eye’s is making me rethink.

Wasps in the late fall and winter

As I sit here today I’m in disbelief that a service technician found an active nest of yellow jackets close to the first week in December.  My understanding was that as soon as the weather becomes colder they all die.  There has to be a reason why they’re still there.

After talking it out we’re both surmising that since this is a southerly facing home in conjunction with being in a part of the attic without adequate insulation that the bees in the house must have had enough warmth to stay active a bit longer.  There really is no other way that they could cheat death.  It’s a biological fact as to what happens to all wasps, not just yellow jackets.

Now, many customers will say ” I see “bees” in mid winter, do I have a nest?  I can emphatically say no.  What most people see are overwintering wasps (queens) that become active due to the warmth created in the house on very warm sunny days.  Think of it as being tricked into believing it’s spring.

That situation is very different than the nest we found as our nest had 200 angry wasps in it.  Other than this isolated incident wasps become solitary in the winter.

Wasp extermination in CT

The easiest part of pest control is treating for the pest.  The hard part is finding them.  In this case our service person treated with a contact aerosol and the problem was solved within 10 minutes.

I had a bit of a scare thinking we were treating honey bees, but as it turns out an old dog can learn new tricks.

If you have wasps or other creepy pests you can call Envirocare Pest Control at 1888-879-6481.  We can help.