The Polistinae


    The Polistinae are eusocial wasps closely related to the more familiar yellowjackets, but placed in their own subfamily, containing four tribes; with some 1100 species total, it is the second most diverse subfamily within Vespidae, and while most species are tropical or subtropical, they include some of the most frequently-encountered large wasps in temperate regions. They are also known as paper wasps, which is a misleading term since other wasps (including yellowjackets) also build nests out of paper, and because some Epiponine wasps (e.g., Polybia emaciata) build theirs out of mud, nonetheless, the name "paper wasp" seems to apply mostly, but not exclusively, to the Polistinae, especially the Polistini. The brood cells are arranged in a hexagonal array, similar to the comb structure in a honey bee nest. At least one Epiponine species (Brachygastra mellifica) stores honey in the comb, one of the only insects other than bees to store honey.

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