sorry, couldn't resist that one...
There's a bald faced hornet's nest right out in plain view in this tree...do you see it?
Bald faced hornets and paper wasps both build paper nests or hives. At this time of year their nests begin to be easier to find and see but I wouldn't recommend taking them down or heaven forbid, whacking at them with a stick! What doesn't look active could be very, very active indeed and you could be very, very sorry!
Both the bald faced hornet and the paper wasp can actually be very beneficial in the garden yet many people are so frightened of being stung by them that they want the nests removed and the insects killed. Please check out some of the information provided on these websites about bald faced hornets and paper wasps to better understand them.
In winter the wasps and hornets that remain become dormant and it is the best time to either remove or destroy nests. If you leave them be you may be lucky enough to witness the neighborhood birds, especially tufted titmice, methodically tear the nests apart to eat the dormant bees and the young for a little winter protein. It doesn't take them long at all and it is quite a show as you may have dozens of birds show up to work at the nest.