Starting from late fall till the end of winter months, you may notice swarms of wasps outside your home.
These wasps have no nests, neither do they’ve any larvae to feed and protect.
So, what’s the reason for sightings of lots of wasps but no nests around?
And do these wasps pose any threat to you? Let’s find it out.
Reason For Sightings Of Lots Of Wasps But No Nests Around
Paper wasp swarms outside your house are a sign of mating behavior. The swarms are of male wasps trying to attract the female wasps. The swarms are most common from the fall months.
The male wasps gather in higher places around your home, like the roof eaves and shingles. They also hang out on the exteriors of a tall buildings, transmission towers, and other tall structures.
Nobody knows why wasps choose only tall structures to gather. But when the male wasps are there, they emit pheromones to attract the female wasps.
These female wasps are the future queens of the nests that they’ll build after they come out of hibernation.
So, it’s common to see these wasps outside houses. Most of the time, wasps choose the tallest home in the neighborhood to perform their mating ritual.
You’ll find out what happens after mating later in the post. But for now, let’s find out if you’re at any risk of stings from wasps when they swarm.
Will Swarms Of Wasps Outside Your House Sting You?
Now being around wasps or wasps swarming around your home can be a scary thing. But during the fall and winter months, these swarms or gatherings of wasps are unlikely to sting.
It’s because these swarming wasps around your house have nothing to defend. They’ve got no nests and larvae to protect.
During this period, their focus is to breed. Also, they’re less defensive.
The male wasps die after mating. And the female wasps start to look for a shelter to hibernate during the winter. This behavior is very similar to the bumblebees.
That’s the period when the female wasps try to enter homes through holes, cracks, vents, and chimneys.
Places like attics, cracks on the walls or wall voids, hollow trees, and rooms of your home where you don’t frequent often are the hibernating places for these female wasps.
That’s the reason you see lethargic wasps in the house during the fall and winter months.
These lazy wasps in your house can even sneak into places like drawers and wardrobes where there’s warmth.
Being unaware of their presence in your clothing can catch you by surprise. And if you wear a cloth with a wasp in it, the wasp can sting you.
The warmer days of the winter months can also make some of these hibernating wasps active. So, you’ll notice a few female wasps buzzing around inside your home.
But as the temperature cools down during the evening hours, these wasps again become inactive.
What Do Wasps Do When Their Hibernation Is Over?
During the spring, the female wasps come out of their hibernation. Their immediate task is to build nests and lay eggs.
A single female wasp can start a colony. But multiple female wasps can also build their nests together.
If there are wasps inside the house, then they’ll start to build their nests where they’ve hibernated.
So, wasps build their nests in places like garages, attics, sheds, roofs, ceilings, overhangs, eaves, chimneys, and in wall voids.
These places provide warmth and dryness, making them ideal for their nests.
After coming out of hibernation, the female wasps are aggressive. Their stings are sharper, and the most aggressive female wasp can even take over the nests of other less aggressive wasps.
Outdoors, wasps make nests in the ground, in bushes, in the hollow tree trunks, decaying pieces of wood, and even on tall poles.
During this period, wasps defend their nests and their larvae. So, they’re aggressive and can sting any casual wanderer wandering near their nests.
Paper wasp nests look like a swollen upside down umbrella hanging on a tall structure.
There are holes underneath which are sections for each of the larva that hatch out of the wasp’s eggs.
How To Stop Swarming Wasps From Entering Your Home?
Now that you know that the wasps that swarm around your home in the cold months can enter your home, it’s time to find out how to stop them from entering your home.
That’s the right time to prevent a wasp infestation because the wasps are less aggressive. And they’re easy to eliminate.
Here are the five steps to follow –
Step#1 – Install Screens On The Large Vents
Screens or shields on the vents of attics, roofs, and chimneys help a lot in preventing the swarming wasps from entering your home.
After mating, the female wasps will look for a place to hibernate through the winter.
And they’ll use these vents to sneak inside your home looking for warmer places to spend the winter months.
So, install shields or screens on these large vents. These shields keep away both the wasps and rodents that sneak inside homes through these places.
Step#2 – Seal Any Gaps And Cracks
Wasps can also sneak inside your home through the gaps and cracks on your home’s walls, window sills, and through gaps between the door panels and the floor.
Caulk those gaps with a quality sealant. Use weather stripping to close the gaps between the door (and window) panels and the floor.
Installing window shields on the windows also helps to keep away the wasps and many other bugs to fly inside your home.
Step#3 – Use The Smells That Wasps Hate
Some scents like the smell of peppermint, eucalyptus, thyme, lavender, geranium, lemongrass, and vinegar are repulsive to wasps. Wasps hate these smells.
There are many essential oils of these scents are available.
You can mix one of these essential oils with water and pour the mixture in a spray bottle.
Spray the mixture in your home to keep paper wasps, yellow jackets, hornets, and stinging bees like honey bees away.
Spraying these smells in the fall months prevents wasps from entering your home.
Peppermint oil spray is the most effective and widely used.
Spray them in places that wasps are most likely to hide when they’re inside the house.
Step#4 – Use Wasp Sprays On The Wasps That May Have Entered Your Home
There are many wasp insecticide sprays available that you can use straight on these docile wasps that entered the home during the fall and winter months.
They’re not aggressive during this period. Spraying the wasp spray on the wasps will kill the wasps.
However, read the instructions on the spray before using it. Wasp-killing sprays are harmful to you, to the children, and pets.
There are also ways to get rid of wasps in homes naturally. Mix two tablespoons of dish soap with four cups of water.
Stir it well and spray it on the wasps. The dish soap will suffocate the wasps and cause them to die.
You can even stomp on them to crush them. Wasps in the colder months are inactive. So, you can squash them under your shoes, fly crushers, and even by using a rolled-up newspaper.
Don’t feel like crushing them to death? Fine, use a vacuum cleaner on these slow-moving wasps to remove them.
Ensure that you dispose of the dead wasps’ bodies. Else, those dead wasps will attract bugs like ants and roaches that feed on other dead bugs.
Step#5 – Deploy Wasp Traps
Finally, use wasp traps to entrap any wasps, hornets, or bees on your property.
You can use wasp traps both indoors and outdoors. These traps lure the wasps to them.
But to use the trap, you’ll need to prepare it. It’s easy to do that.
All you’ve to do is keep a small piece of meat or a bug (you can even put sugary sweet stuff) inside the trap. Both protein and sweet are food sources for wasps.
The traps come with a robust string. Hang the trap on a high place of your home’s outdoors where you saw them swarming.
You can also keep the trap inside your attics and garages where the wasps are most likely to hide.
The bait inside the trap will attract wasps. Once the wasps are inside the trap, they’ll get stuck.
Keep the trap for two-three days. And then dispose of the trap with wasps trapped inside.
Word of caution: Wear gloves, long sleeves shirt, and long pants while following these steps. They’ll protect you from wasp sting.
The reason for wasps swarming around your house outdoors in the fall and winter months is that the wasps are mating.
Male wasps congregate together in tall structures. They emit a scent, which is known as pheromones, to attract female wasps.
In this guide, you’ve found out how these swarming wasps can sneak inside your home and how you can stop them.
Getting rid of these wasps in the fall and winter months is easy. In this period, the wasps are inactive and least aggressive. They don’t have any nest or larvae to defend.
This guide laid a simple four-step process to get rid of these lazy wasps and how to stop wasps from entering your home.
However, keep in mind that wasps sting. Their sting causes pain, swelling, and can itch too. Unlike bees, a single wasp can sting you multiple times.
If there are too many wasps in your property, or you’ve spotted multiple paper wasp nests, it’ll be best to contact a pest control company to get rid of them.
Taking matters into your own hands in cases of wasps is risky. You’ll expose yourself to multiple painful stings.
A professional wasp removal is your best course of action.
Nang Chen is an Entomologist and Arachnologist who is associated with Vienna’s museum of natural history. He’s also a consultant with real estate groups, insecticide conglomerates and law enforcement groups as a forensic entomologist. Nang Chen holds an M.S. from South China University and he’s a regular contributor to our site.