Wasps have annual colonies that last for only one year. The colony dies in the fall with only the newly produced queens surviving the winter. The new queens leave their nests during late summer and mate with males. The queens then seek out overwintering sites such as under loose bark, in rotted logs, under siding or tile and in other small crevices and spaces where they become dormant. These queens become active again the following spring when temperatures warm up. They search for favorable conditions to construct new nests. They do not reuse old nests.
Honey bees and bumble bees are perennial insects with colonies that survive more than one year. Honey bees form a cluster when hive temperatures approach 57°F. As the temperature drops, the cluster of bees becomes more compact. Bees inside this mass consume honey and generate heat so that those in the cluster do not freeze. As long as honey is available in the cluster, a strong colony can withstand temperatures down to -30°F or lower for extended periods of time.