Hornet nests are interesting, but should be observed at a safe distance. The queen begins the nest as a few cells, like a small wasp nest, in which she lays the first eggs. She feeds the larvae until they undergo pupation. The emerging worker hornets are all females, therefore they can sting to protect the nest. They chew wood fibers from logs, posts, beams, etc. to make the paper for the nest cells and walls. If you look at the outside walls of the nest, you'll see that they are multicolored hues of muted grays and browns. As the weeks of summer pass, the nest expands because the worker hornets add additional layers of egg cells, like upside-down highrise condos. The cells are used only once, so more must be added as more eggs are laid. The fertilized queen will overwinter, but the workers die with the onset of freezing winter.