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Hello. My name is Michael. I can help you with your question.
Your question is very interesting. Because although most people observe this, they don't give it a second thought. Your question tells me that you are very aware of your surroundings because you are absolutely right.
The nest that the queen lays her eggs in during the spring is a very small nest that she has built herself.
The larva grows and eventually results in worker-wasps who start expanding the nest.
By the time summer comes, there will be thousands, and the number increases and the nest expands proportionately.
The adult reproductives will eventually leave the colony to mate, with the males dying not long after mating in the fall.
By the fall, most of the workers die from the decreasing temperatures as well.
Unlike bees, wasps have not developed ways to store food, so most of them are killed off by the cold weather.
The only survivors are the newly fertilized queens who build up fat reserves, which sustains them during the winter while they live inside crevices or in human dwellings.
And then in April or May, the new queen starts the process again, searching for a location. Wasps never re-use a previous nest.
This whole process also explains why so many people find the nest at the end of the season when it's empty - because that's when it's largest.
It's exceptionally rare for wasp colonies to survive the winter, but it does happen occasionally in tropical climates.
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