Several species of paper wasps of the genus Polistes occur in Missouri. All are about 0.7 to 1.0 inch long, slender and variously colored with brown, red and yellow. They build their single-comb unprotected nest from the eaves or porches of buildings or other sheltered locations. As with all the other wasps, only the queen survives the winter to start new colonies in the spring.
Paper wasps are not as aggressive as yellowjackets or hornets in defense of their nest. These nests should be eliminated only if they are located near human activity and pose a risk of stings.