(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.
Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.