Paper wasps are 3/4 to 1 inch long, extremely narrow at the abdomen and have black wings. Body color varies by species.
Paper wasps are semi-social insects that live in colonies consisting of three castes: workers, queens and males. Fertilized queens overwinter and in the spring select a site and begin building a nest.
The queen's eggs are laid in cells and hatch into larvae that develop through several stages. Worker wasps assist in nest building, caring for the young and defending the nest. An average nest may contain as many as 20 to 30 adults. In late summer, queens stop laying eggs. The queen's mated female offspring will seek a protected place to overwinter, but the remainder of the colony won't survive the winter.
Paper Wasps most often build their nests around homes and other structures, underneath eaves, and on sturdy plants. Wasp Nests are built from wood fiber and plant matter that the insects chew and form into a comb of hexagonal cells. Mature nests contain up to 200 cells. Paper wasps prey on insects such as caterpillars, flies — and beetle larvae that are fed to their young. The wasps forage during the day and rest at night.
Nature toward humans:
Wasps attack when the nest is disturbed and can sting repeatedly. The stings typically cause pain and swelling around the area of the attack. In some cases serious allergic reactions may occur that can even result in death. Only female wasps can sting.
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