Queen wasps emerge from hibernation in the spring and will begin to seek a suitable location to build her nest. These are often in lofts, garages, sheds, air vents and bird boxes. She will start construction of the nest by stripping wood from fence panels etc. This material mixed with her saliva will be made into a paste material and the nest will start to be built. She will attach the first part of the nest to something sturdy. The queen starts to lay eggs and once they have hatched, she forages for food to feed them. Once the first brood of adults hatch, they take over the nest building duties and caring for the larvae. this leaves the queen free to do her job, which now consists solely of egg laying.
As the individuals increase so does the size of the nest. The queen can lay up to 100 eggs per day. As the nest reaches its maximum size towards the end of the summer, the queen will lay Queen eggs. Each nest can produce up to 1500 queens, they leave the nest to find drones from other nests to mate with. Once they have accomplished this they will seek a suitable site to hibernate in.
Once the queens have left the nest is essentially on countdown to dying. This is the time when worker wasps can become a problem to humans, they are on the hunt for any food that contains sugar. Beer gardens and bins are often places they invade at this time of year, also apples from the windfall can become a problem in gardens.
By winter months most nests have died, occasionally a large nest can survive a while longer if enough food can be found.