Niche overlap and daily activity pattern of social wasps (Vespidae: Polistinae) in kale crops

Gabriel Castro Jacques, Tiago Georg Pikart, Vinicius Silva Santos, Lucas Oliveira Vicente, Luís Cláudio Paterno Silveira


Kale (Brassica oleraceae var. acephala) is of great importance in human nutrition and local agricultural economies, but its growth is impaired by the attack of several insect pests. Social wasps prey on these pests, but few studies report the importance of this predation or the potential use of wasps as biological control for agricultural pests. This study aimed to survey the species of social wasps that forage in kale (B. oleraceae var. acephala), recording the influence of temperature and time of day on the foraging behavior of these wasps. The research was conducted at the Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of Minas Gerais - Bambuí Campus, from July to December 2015, when twelve collections of social wasps that foraged on a common area of kale cultivation were made, noting the temperature and time of collection for each wasp. Polybia ignobilis, Protonectarina sylveirae and Protopolybia sedula were the most common wasp species foraging in fields of kale. Interspecific interactions between wasp species did not affect their coexistence within kale fields, with peak foraging occurring between 1000 and 1100 hours. Social wasps are important predators of herbivorous insects in the agricultural environment and the coexistence of a great diversity of these predators can help control pest insects that occur in the crop. Moreover, knowing factors that influence foraging behaviors of common wasp species that occur in this crop is important for effective use of these insects in the biological control of pests.


Biological control; foraging; Polistinae

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