The name may sound rather flimsy, but these wasps can pack a punch. Their nests are easy to recognize hexagonal, paper honeycombs with deep holes for larvae. They can make a nest just about anywhere -- under building overhangs, or inside metal gutters and outdoor grills. Their long, thin bodies, about an inch (2.5 centimeters) long, are usually reddish brown, with some yellow markings, and they look smooth and hairless.
Mature nests may house 20 to 30 adults, who forage during the day.
Like most venomous creatures, stinging a human is usually a last resort for wasps. It can happen if they're captured, touched, or if they sense the nest is being threatened. Males are harmless, but females can sting people or pets multiple times. Severe allergic reactions can sometimes lead to death.
Gardeners consider these insects beneficial, because they do eat caterpillars, flies and beetle larvae. Be most aware of these creatures during the summer. By late summer, the queen stops laying eggs and the colony begins to die off.
These wasps build new nests every year, but often in the same location as an earlier successful nest.
A sting that feels like a gunshot? Keep reading!