We are painting the shutters on our house next spring and I have noticed that...

Asked August 22, 2018, 1:53 PM EDT

We are painting the shutters on our house next spring and I have noticed that there are yellow jackets nesting now behind most of the shutters on the second floor. I know that they will die off over the winter. My question is when should I expect new ones to nest again next year? I live in the Columbus area. Thank you.

Franklin County Ohio

1 Response

Yellow jacket is the common name for several species of wasps. Most are beneficial because they are carnivorous during much of their life and eat large quantities of agricultural pests. All of them, however, have the capacity to sting multiple times so great care is needed. The yellow jackets behind your shutters will die off, usually in late autumn, depending on weather, food supply and how well protected they are in that location.

The new queens hatch in late summer, mate and then hibernate over winter either underground or in a well-protected location. When they come out of hibernation they will be on the hunt for a suitable nesting site. The exact date of their emergence is impossible to predict as it is entirely weather dependent. Some species are very early and will be out with the very first spring blooms; others will follow.

“It depends,” is not a very definitive answer but it’s the correct one. So, be safe and take those shutters down on one of those unusual dry, sunny January days while spring is still a long way off.