The Stenogastrinae are a peculiar group of primitively social wasps found mainly in Southeast Asia. They build nests of a mix of soil and coarsely crushed plant fibres, unlike the fine papery nests of other wasps.
The Polistinae is a very large subfamily containing members distributed all over the world. These are often known as the paper wasps, and many make simple, single-comb nests with no protective envelope. However, in the tropics, these wasps can have extremely unique and variable nesting habits.
The Vespinae have the most complex social structure and organization. They build large nests with a protective envelope, and several combs containing hundreds or even thousands of cells. This group includes the well-known yellowjackets and hornets.