The life cycle of stinging insects
How long do wasps, bees, and hornets typically live?
Wasps & bumblebees live in annual colonies. This means the entire colony dies in the fall. Only the newly-produced queen survives the winter. The new queen leaves the nest in late summer, mates with males, and then finds a site under loose bark, in a rotted log, or under the siding of your house, where she goes dormant for the winter. When spring comes her hibernation period is over, and she begins to build a new nest. Wasps and bumblebees do not re-use old nests.
Honeybees, on the other hand, are perennial insects. They form a cluster when hive temperatures are about 57º, and become more compact as the temps drop. As long as honey is available to the cluster, the colony can survive temps as low as -30º for long periods of time.
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