Social Wasp

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Social Wasp


the general name for insects of the subfamilies Polybiinae, Polistinae, and Vespinae of the family Vespidae.

Polybiine wasps live mainly in Central and South America. Two genera are found in Africa, and there is one genus in South Asia. The wasps live in communities consisting of one or more fertile females and a large number of infertile females (workers). They build papery nests made of horizontal honeycombs with hexagonal cells that open below, in which the young develop. Like bees, they manufacture honey in their nests.

The subfamilies Polistinae and Vespinae are distributed on all continents. In the USSR they comprise about 25 species. The nests of Polistinae consist of one honeycomb and do not have a protective sheath; those of Vespinae consist of several honeycombs surrounded by a general protective sheath of several layers of paper. The wasps rear the larvae of killed insects.

The families of social wasps living in the temperate zone are annual; those dwelling in tropical regions are perennial. The wasps are usually beneficial, because they destroy many harmful insects. Some species, such as the European hornet (Vespa crab-ro), may interfere with beekeeping.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Feeding by the social wasp Polybia scutellaris (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) on Syzygium jambos (Myrtaceae) fruits in Minas Gerais, Brazil.
There are nine species of social wasp in Britain, two or three of which have only arrived here in recent years.
You may be alarmed by the size of the hornet (Vespa crabro), Britain's largest social wasp, yet it is much less aggressive than other species of wasp.
In this study a composition of the free amino acid in venom of the social wasp Polistes lanio evaluated in fresh and frozen, and before or after extraction with organic solvents.
Social wasp trapping in north west Italy: comparison of different bait-traps and first detection of Vespa velutina.
TEHRAN (FNA)- The social wasp Polybia paulista protects itself against predators by producing venom known to contain a powerful cancer-fighting ingredient.
The swarm-founding social wasp Protopolybia sedula (de Sausurre, 1854) is a widely spread species, distributed throughout various countries in the Americas such as Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, Argentina and most of Brazil (from Maranhao to Santa Catarina state).
The UK boasts around eight species of social wasp, the most widespread are the Common and the German wasps.
Abstract--Parasitoids may have important role in the biological control of social wasps. The objective of the current study was to identify and to measure colonies of the social wasp Polistes versicolor Olivier, 1791 (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) that were attacked by parasitoids in the campus of the Federal University of Vicosa in Vicosa, Minas Gerais State, Brazil.
In a similar study, Samuels (1987) examined the fates of 39 females leaving their natal nest in the paleotropical social wasp Liostenogaster flavolineata: 26% of the females joined other nests, 8% adopted or usurped nests, 62% became "lone females" (i.e., nestless wasps), and 5% started their own nests.

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