The paper wasp builds and maintains its compound nest out of a special kind of paper, which it manufactures itself. The insect collects fibers of plants and of dead wood from all kinds of places - logs, fence posts, telephone poles, and building materials. It then chews the cellulose-rich material, adding a sticky, highprotien saliva.
When applied, the resulting paste dries to form a light, firm, yet tough, paper. Moreover, the saliva has special properties that enable the paper to generate and absorb heat, thus maintaining the right temperature in the brood comb on cool days.
The finish product is a waterproof, paper-umbrella-covered cluster of hexagonal cells; the hexagon combining strength and efficiency.
The insects select sites that offer some kind of protective over hang. From this they suspend their downward-facing nests by a stalk or petiole. - information taken from the Feb 2012 edition of "Awake" magazine.