The family Vespidae contains the very familiar social wasp species.

Vespids usually make nests out of papery wood pulp collected from plant fibres - they can often be seen collecting the wood fibres by chewing fence posts. The queens emerge from hibernation in spring and seek out appropriate sites for nest construction. These could be hollow trees, underground in abandoned rodent burrows or suspended in trees or bushes - they are quite commonly found in sheds.

Unlike bees the social wasps feed their larvae on other invertebrates. The wasps catch and kill other insects. They then dismember the insect before taking back the most nutritious parts (typically the thorax) to the nest.

A photograph of a social wasp.

The head of a social wasp.
Photograph by Richard Bartz licensed under Creative Commons.

Other names for (or types of) Vespidae include:

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