Native paper wasps are smaller than European Wasps, and lack their vivid yellow markings. They tend to only be aggressive when defending their nests, and are otherwise beneficial insects to have around the garden.
You can identify a paper wasp by their small head, medium sized eyes and antennae, slender body and narrow waist. You will notice that they have two pairs of brown-tinted wings, where the first pair is larger. The abdomen of a paper wasp is mainly black with some yellow/orange bands.
Adult paper wasps feed on nectar, however they do catch caterpillars to feed to their larvae. They can be found living in urban areas, forests or woodlands where they have an adequate food source. They form small colonies, and make paper nests under tree branches and the eaves of houses. The nests are shaped like inverted cones, and consist of a cluster of hexagonal cells made from wood fibre mixed with saliva. When it dries the mixture is quite paper-like, and gives these wasps their name. The wasp larvae are maggot-like and develop inside the papery cells of the nest.