Wow! Paper wasps are amazing! Did you know they use fibers, dead wood, plant stems, and their own saliva to basically make a paper mâché umbrella-shaped nest? They are even waterproof to protect their larvae. These nests are normally found under overhangs, eaves, under ledges and sometimes even in the bushes to help protect them from weather elements such as wind and rain.
I am allergic to wasps and bees so even though I don’t like them I found these particular wasps extremely interesting. Most of us don’t like wasps and have a certain level of fear of them. They are not harmful unless they feel they, or their nests, are threatened. For the most part, paper wasps like to mind their own business. I like to think they are very driven to get their jobs done. They build their nest, lay their larvae in the umbrella shaped nests, mate for the next season, feed themselves and their larvae, and then die (unless you are the queen that is).
I found it interesting that only the mating adults live through winter; All worker and unmated wasps die in the fall each year. The queens always live and hibernate in wood piles or foliage throughout winter before starting their new colonies in the spring. It’s females we are naturally scared of as they are the only ones with stingers. Females can sting over and over again because their stinger is also a modified egg laying organ. Does that make you want to avoid them? If you want to live somewhere with no paper wasps you’ll have to move to Antarctica as this is the only place on Earth they don’t exist! Like I said; paper wasps are amazing!