In early spring this fertilized queen paper wasp (Polistes dominula) emerged from hibernation, chewed bits of fibrous plants and, combined with her saliva, made a papery material for her first nest. She built this nest herself, she then laid her eggs— only one per cell— and now she stands guard on the nest, rain or shine (mostly rain here this spring), waiting for the eggs to develop into larvae.
She only feeds on nectar, but she will soon hunt down and chew up caterpillars to feed her legless larvae. In about 30 days the queen's first colony of all-female workers will emerge from this nest and take over all colony duties while she spends her time laying more eggs. She will produce male offspring later this summer— precisely when fertile females require their presence.