A female yellow jacket hornet, known as a foundress, will mate in the fall and then spend the winter in a protected spot.
IN the spring she’ll construct a paper nest out of chewed up plant fibres and then lay her eggs inside.
They will hatch into drones and collect food for the nest as the queen continues to lay eggs to grow the hive.
In the fall some of the eggs will turn into males and new queens. They will mate and continue the cycle.
You may be tempted to kill any overwintering queens you find to prevent a colony from ever being formed. Please don’t! They are part of a healthy, functioning ecosystem and act as pollinators, scavengers, and hunters of insects and caterpillars.