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Interspecific interactions in solitary Aculeata – is the presence of heterospecifics important for females establishing nests?

  • J. Kierat (a1), K. Miler (a1), W. Celary (a2) and M. Woyciechowski (a1)

There are several possible causes of aggregated nesting in solitary Aculeata, one being joint defense against parasites. We tested whether females prefer nesting in aggregations, even if they consist of heterospecifics. We compared the colonization and nesting parasitism of trap-nests with and without a red mason bee aggregation. The results did not support our hypothesis that females prefer nesting in aggregations. The numbers of wild Aculeata nests did not differ between trap-nests with and without an aggregation. Unexpectedly, parasitism rates were higher in trap-nests with aggregations. When analyzing only nests of wild insects (mostly wasps), the differences in parasitism disappeared. Natural nesting sites may be such a limited resource that females nested in the first trap-nest they encountered and did not discriminate between our treatments, or wasps might share too few parasites species with bees to benefit from joint nest defense.

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Bulletin of Entomological Research
  • ISSN: 0007-4853
  • EISSN: 1475-2670
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