Paper wasps are 0.75 to 1.25 inch’s long and can vary in color from a darker variation (mostly brown and black) to a lighter variation (brown, red, orange, and yellow). There are 22 species of paper wasps found in North America. They gather cellulose fibers from dead wood and plant stems, mix the fibers with saliva, and use this mix to construct water-resistant nests that are made of gray or brown paper mache-like material. Paper wasps are also sometimes called umbrella wasps, due to the distinctive design of their nests.
Nests consist of a single comb with no paper envelope enclosing it. Nests are built under the eaves and porticos of homes, under decks, among the louvers of gable vents and attic rafters, behind shutters, inside coach lamps, in horizontal pipes, in hollow components of playground equipment, and under the protective foliage and branches of trees and shrubs. Nests are usually small and typically have 150-250 cells.
Paper wasps are semi-social, existing in small colonies but without a worker caste.