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Wasp Life Cycle

Wasp Life Cycle

There are several different types of wasps, including yellow jackets, which are the most common members of the Vespidae family. The life cycle begins with a queen who utilizes sperm that has been stored. The queen uses this sperm to create more worker bees, which are responsible for continuing the building of the colony. The bees do not live for a long period of time and die by summer’s end. The new queens hibernate during the winter with a new cycle beginning the next spring.

Varying Life Cycle

Each wasp species has a variant cycle, with differing rituals of nest building as well as the different development of the colony.

Yellow Jacket Life Cycle

These types of wasps are very social, meaning that their nests are quite large and house thousands of the insects. The life cycle starts when a queen has been fertilized and begins to build the nest. She usually creates a small nest and lays her eggs within it. When the eggs hatch, female workers emerge. The workers will reach maturity and continue building the nest while the queen bee continues to lay her eggs.

Storing of Sperm

In order to increase effectiveness, the queen bee is able to continue laying eggs without a mate, as she is able to store sperm for extended periods. The queen typically mates with her male during the fall and then stores the bee’s sperm while she is building the nest. She is able to continue laying many eggs while she is building, therefore ensuring that the colony will be a large one. The queen usually runs out of sperm by the beginning of the following autumn, when she must mate again.

Worker Males

Young male worker bees eventually leave the nest to mate with other queens. After this, they typically die with the female workers dying as well. Therefore, the queen is the only one to survive the winters. The fertilized female will find a secure place to stay over the winter and will not become active until the spring. Although they are able to survive throughout the winter, they usually only survive for one year.



“Paper wasp.” Entomology at Texas A&M University – Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Dec. 2010.

“Paper Wasps and Hornets, HYG-2077-97.” Ohioline. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Dec. 2010.

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