wasps - ouch!!
I ran into this wasp nest yesterday while weed whacking the paths at the community gardens. Its underground. The entrance is just inside the fence of someone's plot.
I ended up with 4 or 5 stings that hurt like crazy. Fortunately I'm not allergic. However, I think this is probably the same nest Jennifer found the other day and she had a serious reaction. There were a surprising number of very mad bees that came out of the hole like a little cloud.
So I thought I'd look up what I could find on line. It seems this is a wasp of the Vespula species, a type of yellowjacket. It builds a gray paper nest underground. The nest begins in the spring and ends in the winter. A finished nest contains 3,000 wasps. Wasp nests are not reused the next year and all wasps but the queen die off over the winter. In the fall, new queens are produced and the workers feed these so they become fat enough to survive the winter. The queens mate then overwinter in a protected location and begin a new colony in the spring.
I will make a bright sign to post by the hole so no one else gets stung. Sounds like this nest will be short lived.
BTW, Here's a good factsheet on yellowjackets.