East Cooper residents often find these wasps nesting under awnings, soffits, decks, porch railings, door frames, and exterior light fixtures. This wasp gets its name from the paper-like material it makes to build its nest. The wasps will chew up organic material and make a nest that is usually shaped like an umbrella. The queen deposits her eggs in the chambers built in the nest. The eggs will hatch and the maggot-like juveniles are fed caterpillars, flies, and other insects that the worker wasps collect.
Paper wasps are beneficial insects because the adults are pollinators. People who like to grow vegetable gardens often welcome these pests into their gardens. Gardeners may accidentally bump into a nest while working in the yard. The paper wasp will defend the nest if it feels threatened. The sting can be very painful.