They are about 5/8 to 3/4+ inch in length, the queens are generally a little larger. They are mostly black with a white pattern on most of the face, and a few white markings on their body.
The queen picks the location of the nest, which can vary between shrubs, trees, houses, sheds, utility posts or other structures. They are normally in exposed areas, and they can be quite impressive in size.
Adults feed mainly on fruit juices and other sweet material. The adults feed the larvae chewed up meat or insect parts.
The inseminated queen uses chewed up wood fibers to build a paper nest. Eggs are laid in the cells, as the eggs hatch, the larvae are fed by the queen. As the colony grows, the workers take over enlarging the nest and feeding the larvae, leaving the queen to produce eggs.