The umbrella or paper wasp is about 3/4 to 1 inch long, slender, narrow waisted with long legs and reddish-orange to dark brown or black in color. There are yellowish makrings on the abdomen (rear body part). Polistes or paper wasps are reddish-brown to dark brown, long legged insects with spindle shaped abdomens. These wasps feed abundalntly on corn earworms, armyworms, tobacco hornworms, etc..Paper-like nests, shaped like tiny umbrellas, are suspended by a short stem attached to eaves, windo frames, porch ceilings, attic rafters, etc. The paper material is derived from weathered wood or plant sources chewed and mixed with the sasp’s salivary secretions. If you have a deck, you’ve seen the paper wasp collecting wood for its paper making process.
Each nest consists of a horizontal layer or “tier” of circular comb of hexagonal (six-sided) cells not enclosed by a paper-like envelope. The ends of the cellas are open with the heads of the larvae exposed to view.
These wasps construct circular gray paper nests which resemble a honey comb from underneath and seldom exceed four inches in diameter. The nests are frequently found under the eaves of houses, in little used buildings and in attics. The nest are annual (used for only one year).
The typical mature colony of paper wasps will probably contain 30-75 adults and 100-200 cells, although larger colonies occur.