Killing Queens

Asked June 30, 2016, 1:58 PM EDT

If I kill a yellow jacket queen late in her nesting season (early to mid june for example), will the nest die? Will a nest always die if the queen is killed?

Lane County Oregon wasps

2 Responses

Interesting question ... unfortunately I don't have a definitive answer. Honeybees do have the ability to "re-queen" the hive if the original queen bee dies. And, some ants (another hymenopteran) have multiple queens within a single colony. Some wasps have multiple queens as well but this varies by species (yes, there are many species of yellowjacket wasps). So, the simple answer is "it depends" on species. My question is ... how do you kill the queen without destroying the rest of the colony since she never leaves the nest once the colony is established?

Hope this sheds a little light.

Sorry for the delay in response. My understanding is that a queen will establish a nest in the Spring, but will still travel outside the nest to provide food and materials for the nest until it becomes self-sufficient. I saw queens out of the nest as late as the second week of June. I know they are queens as they are bigger than full-grown workers, and at this time of year the only workers out are very small so the queens really stand out. They come in my garage quite often where I kill them with a non-toxic wasp spray.