Wasp(?), n. [OE. waspe, AS. wps, wfs; akin to D. wesp, G. wespe, OHG. wafsa, wefsa, Lith. vapsa gadfly, Russ. osa wasp, L. vespa, and perhaps to E. weave.] (Zol.) Any one of numerous species of stinging hymenopterous insects, esp. any of the numerous species of the genus Vespa, which includes the true, or social, wasps, some of which are called yellow jackets.
The social wasps make a complex series of combs, of a substance like stiff paper, often of large size, and protect them by a paperlike covering. The larv are reared in the cells of the combs, and eat insects and insect larv brought to them by the adults, but the latter feed mainly on the honey and pollen of flowers, and on the sweet juices of fruit. See Illust. in Appendix.
Digger wasp, any one of numerous species of solitary wasps that make their nests in burrows which they dig in the ground, as the sand wasps. See
Sand wasp, under Sand. --
Mud wasp. See under Mud. --
Potter wasp. See under Potter. --
Wasp fly, a species of fly resembling a wasp, but without a sting.
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