|Foundress-queen and her smaller worker daughters.|
I did a little research, and sometimes late season colonies are 'satellite nests'. A queen may found multiple nests as insurance against total reproductive failure in the case of predation. Birds will knock down paper wasp colonies, and having extra nests insures that the queen doesn't lose her entire reproductive effort.
Also unlike honeybees, only fertile queens overwinter. Workers have brief lifespans of only a few weeks, and males are only present part of the season. Fun fact: no male Hymenoptera sting. A stinger is a modified ovipositor, and males never had one.
These paper wasps are probably eating soft bodied insects, especially caterpillars. A couple of yards from the satellite nest a Hackberry tree is suffering an outbreak of webworm caterpillars. I've got to imagine the foundress noticed these tasty morsels when she was choosing where to start a new colony.
One last thing: I love bees, but I have a more complicated relationship with wasps. I've been stung by yellow jackets enough times to harbor a general mistrust for the family. However, all these wasps did when I clunked my camera against the glass was freeze in the alert position over their young. Pretty chill, really. Knowledge tends to conquer fear, so perhaps watching this family over the remainder of the summer will change my mind.