|The nests of most species are suspended
from a single, central stalk and have the shaped like inverted cones.
Nests are made of plant and wood fibers which are collected by the
wasps, mixed with saliva, and chewed into a papier-mâché-like material
that is formed into the thin cells of the nest. The nests are
constructed in protected places, such as under the eaves of buildings or
dense vegetation. Normally a colony of several to several dozen paper
wasps inhabit the nest.
Paper Wasps use their sting for
defense only. They subdue their prey (mainly caterpillars) with
their powerful mandibles.
The colony is founded in early spring, soon after the
queens (mated females) emerge from hibernation. As the colony matures,
males and the next year's queens are produced. These queens mate with
males and are the only members of the colony to survive through winter.
In late summer or fall, the founding queen, workers (unmated females),
and males all die. The newly mated queens hibernate, typically in piles
of wood, in vegetation, or in holes. The following spring they emerge
and begin the cycle anew.