Though they thrive in warmer temperatures, wasps (Hymenoptera) live in climates all over the world. In tropical areas, they can be a nuisance year round. Wherever temperatures fall in the winter, though, every colony is forced to confront its own mortality, as most of its members don't survive when the mercury drops. Their ability to repopulate year after year is a testament to their versatility.
Where Wasps Live
With more than 200,000 different species of wasp, they are one of the most diverse insect groups on the planet. They live in virtually every climate on land, with the notable exception of areas that are cold year round, like polar regions.
In areas with cold winters, only the queen from any given colony survives, hiding herself in a secluded space and hibernating through the winter while the rest of the colony dies. When she awakens in the spring, she lays eggs -- the result of mating the previous summer -- and starts a new colony. This life cycle allows wasps to thrive even in climates that become inhospitable year after year.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.