Rather slender wasp, 10-15mm long, tan in colour with darker bands and some yellow on face. Wings long and thin. Nest made of a grey papery wood fibre material, initially cone-shaped, later round, to a maximum diameter of 10-12cm, with numerous hexagonal cells underneath, some with white caps. Nest exposed, suspended by short stalk under an overhang, e.g. eaves or roof of a pergola, or sometimes in a shrub or tree. Wasps cluster on nest or forage in garden and around buildings. Other species of Paper wasps are larger or smaller and differently coloured.
Mainland south-eastern Australia, southern Queensland, New South Wales, the ACT, Victoria and South Australia. Polistes humilis are a native wasp species, but some other paper wasp species are introduced.
A social wasp. Small colonies of 12-20 adults make "paper" nests by mixing saliva and wood fibres. Nest is a nursery where larvae (1 to each cell) are fed on chewed-up caterpillars before pupating, when cell is capped. Adults themselves feed on nectar. Most wasps die in autumn or winter, some hibernate to start new nests next season.
Some beneficial value as predator of pest caterpillars. However, wasps have a painful sting and will attack any person approaching or disturbing nest. Nests likely to be disturbed represent a hazard.
Do not go near nest during the day .
Apply a cold pack. Seek medical attention if symptoms become general or more severe.