Subject: Wasp indoors in winter
Geographic location of the bug: Grayslake, Northern Illinois
Time: 01:16 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: My young cats found this wasp buzzing in the window today. Temps are a bit warmer than normal in the low 40’s, but I thought wasps died off in the winter and never expected to see one in January. Can you help me identify and figure out why (s)he’s in my house? I’m not one to kill things but I don’t want the cats to eat it or get stung either.
Thank you for all of your work!
How you want your letter signed: Karin
We believe this is a queen Yellowjacket, probably the Eastern Yellowjacket, Vespula maculifrons, which is pictured on BugGuide. Each spring, a female queen begins a new nest that grows over the summer and autumn, but the nest dies over the winter and reproductive female Yellowjacket queens hibernate, beginning new nests in the spring. We suspect you encountered a hibernating queen. Since few insects are sighted in northern climes during winter months, we have decided to make this posting our Bug of the Month for January 2019.