The Remaining Endopterygote Orders

once her first offspring have emerged and can function as workers, she does not leave the nest. Usually, vespine nests are multicombed and may include several thousand individuals. Workers are morphologically quite distinguishable from the queen.

Superfamily Apoidea

In Gauld and Bolton's (1988) system this superfamily includes only two families, SPHECIDAE and APIDAE, though most earlier classifications split each of these groups into as many as 10 distinct families. Some 8000 Sphecidae have been described worldwide, including about 1200 in North America. Commonly called mud daubers (Figure 10.35), sand wasps, thread-waisted wasps, or digger wasps, the majority of Sphecidae are solitary and mass provision their cells, though some species are subsocial or social, progressively provisioning the cells throughout the larva's life. The prey, which may be paralyzed or killed outright, comprises a wide variety of insects (both immature and adult) and arachnids. In some species a high degree of specificity exists between the wasp and its prey. A few species are cleptoparasites of other sphecids.

Among the approximately 15,000 species of Apidae (including about 3500 in North America) are both solitary and social bees. The great majority of species are solitary, the social forms being restricted to three subfamilies, Halictinae, Anthophorinae, and Apinae. Most species differ from sphecids in that they use pollen and nectar rather than animal material for feeding the larvae. However, a few forms use carrion as food and a few are cleptoparasites or social parasites on other, nest-making bees. The cleptoparasites enter the host's nest and oviposit, the larvae killing the host's egg or young and being reared by the host. Social parasite females take over the host's nest, in effect becoming queen over the host workers, which then rear her offspring.

The subfamily COLLETINAE (2000 species) is particularly common in the Southern Hemisphere, especially Australia. It contains the most primitive bees whose females construct simple nests in soil, hollow stems, or holes in wood. They are sometimes called plasterer bees from their habit of lining the nest with a salivary secretion that dries to form a thin transparent sheet.

The HALICTINAE form a large cosmopolitan subfamily (3000 species), of mostly solitary bees. In some species, however, large numbers of egg-laying females occupy the same nest site, usually a hole in the ground, though there is no division of labor within the colony. A few species are truly social; each season a single female constructs a nest and rears a brood of young, all of which develop into workers, though these may not be structurally much different from the queen. The workers care for the eggs laid subsequently, which develop into both males and females. Only fertilized females overwinter.

FIGURE 10.36. Apoidea: Apidae. (A) Andrena sp. (Andreninae); (B) a leaf-cutter bee, Megachile latimanus (Megachilinae); (C) the work of leaf-cutter bees; the removed portions of the leaves were used in nest building; (D) nest of the small carpenter bee, Ceratina dupla (Anthophorinae); (E) Ceratina acantha (Anthophorinae); and (F) the yellow-faced bumble bee, Bombus vosnesenskii (Apinae). [A-C, E, F, from E. O. Essig, 1954, Insects of Western North America. Reprinted with permission of the Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc. Copyright 1926 by Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc.; renewed 1954 by E. O. Essig.]

FIGURE 10.36. Apoidea: Apidae. (A) Andrena sp. (Andreninae); (B) a leaf-cutter bee, Megachile latimanus (Megachilinae); (C) the work of leaf-cutter bees; the removed portions of the leaves were used in nest building; (D) nest of the small carpenter bee, Ceratina dupla (Anthophorinae); (E) Ceratina acantha (Anthophorinae); and (F) the yellow-faced bumble bee, Bombus vosnesenskii (Apinae). [A-C, E, F, from E. O. Essig, 1954, Insects of Western North America. Reprinted with permission of the Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc. Copyright 1926 by Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc.; renewed 1954 by E. O. Essig.]

The ANDRENINAE (Figure l0.36A) are the common solitary bees of the holarctic region, with about 2000 species, including 1200 from North America. Andreninae typically nest in burrows in the ground. Often, large numbers nest together in the same "apartment," each bee with its own "suite."

The MEGACHILINAE form another very large subfamily (3000 species), which includes the familiar leaf-cutter bees (Figure 10.36B,C), females of which build nests from leaf fragments. Others, however, build nests from mud or live in burrows, under stones, and in other suitable holes. Some species are parasitic on other bees. Megachile rotundata, the alfalfa leaf-cutter bee, is cultured on a large scale in North America for use as an alfalfa pollinator. The weaker honey bee can pollinate this plant but experiences difficulty inforcing its way into the flower and soon learns that there are easier sources of food. The use of leaf-cutter bees can increase the yield of seed severalfold.

FIGURE 10.37. Apoidea. The honey bee, Apis mellifera (Apidae). (A) Queen, (B) worker, and (C) drone. [From G. Nixon. 1959, The World of Bees, Hutchinson. Reprinted by permission of The Random House Group Ltd.]

Beekeeping for Beginners

Beekeeping for Beginners

The information in this book is useful to anyone wanting to start beekeeping as a hobby or a business. It was written for beginners. Those who have never looked into beekeeping, may not understand the meaning of the terminology used by people in the industry. We have tried to overcome the problem by giving explanations. We want you to be able to use this book as a guide in to beekeeping.

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