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Vespidae

Vespidae (suborder Apocrita, superfamily Vespoidea) The principal family of social wasps, containing many common species, whose members are social, predatory, and more or less melliferous. Females can often inflict painful stings. The fore wings are usually folded longitudinally at rest. Mandibles are usually short and broad, with overlapping apices. Most species are black and yellow with banded abdomens and yellow or white facial markings (they are often called ‘yellow-jackets’; although this common name is sometimes restricted to Vespa crabro, the hornet). Members of some subfamilies feed their young on pre-chewed insects, and make their nests of a papery cellulose construction; other subfamilies are solitary wasps, provisioning their nests with paralysed prey.

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paper wasps

paper wasps Social wasps (superfamily Vespoidea, family Vespidae) which build their nests from chewed wood pulp. Most belong to the subfamilies Vespinae, Polistinae, and Polybiinae, and the name is sometimes restricted to the Polistinae. The nest structure is variable, with or without outer coverings, but is usually spherical and contains a large number of cells. Nest construction is started by the queen in spring and the nest is subsequently enlarged by many generations of workers. Nests sometimes attain 35 cm or more in diameter.

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paper wasps

paper wasps (superfamily Vespoidea, family Vespidae) Social wasps which build their nests from chewed wood pulp. Most belong to the subfamilies Vespinae, Polistinae, and Polybiinae, and the name is sometimes restricted to the Polistinae. The nest structure is variable, with or without outer coverings, but is usually spherical and contains a large number of cells. Nest construction is started by the queen in spring and the nest is subsequently enlarged by many generations of workers. Nests sometimes attain 35 cm or more in diameter.

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