Paper wasps get their name because they form their nests out of a paper-like substance. Similar to bald-faced hornets, they create this paper nest by chewing up wood and plant materials to make the papery substance. They are sometimes called umbrella wasps because the nest forms an umbrella shape. Paper wasps feed on both nectar and smaller garden pests like caterpillars.
Paper wasps are social insects that do form colonies. They are often confused with yellow jackets because of their similar coloration and markings. Both have bright yellow and black stripes on, but paper wasps are typically larger and slimmer than yellow jackets.