A queen wasp can live for several years. When the queen stops laying eggs, the hive breaks up and the worker wasps rarely survive the winter. The mated queens find shelter and emerge in spring to start a new colony.
There are over 20,000 species of wasps in the world. Most live in hives and are called "social," but there are solitary species, such as mud daubers and cicada killers. In warmer climates, yellowjacket colonies can survive for years and become very large. Yellowjackets are defensive wasps and become aggressive if their nests are disturbed. Paper wasps are less defensive and hardly ever attack humans.