|I think the ability of some wasps to manufacture good, strong paper contributed significantly to the evolution of social behavior in these species.
Michael Hansell "Wasp Paper-Mache"
Unlike the solitary mud daubers, paper wasps (Polistes) are social. Females work together to build nests made from wood pulp mixed with their saliva. Eggs develop inside the nests and females tend to the eggs until the larvae pupate.
David Grice in The Red Hourglass describes feeding paper wasp larvae in a nest he adopted: "I fed them drops of milk-and-sugar from the tip of a sewing needle. They sucked it down hungrily and then waved their heads around, mouthing for more. Sometimes the drop would fall off prematurely and mantle their white "shoulders." They would wrench their heads in big arcs, futilely attempting to get at the milk. They looked disturbingly like kittens do before their eyes open."
The wasps that emerge from the first eggs are all sterile females who remain with the nest to help the queen tend her eggs. By the end of the summer, eggs develop into females and males, and the social structure of the nest changes. Mating activities resume.
Fertilized females are usually the only ones to survive the fall and winter. In the spring, the surviving sisters gather material from fibers and wood in a communal effort to build new nests, creations worthy of the finest potters and paper makers.
Art today is a very deliberate act. I feel, however, that art comes from a deeper source somewhere - it's part of the act of just living: you know, let's put on the beans and get the clay out.
Rina Swentzell in All Roads are Good