Next Article in Journal
Season Long Pest Management Efficacy and Spray Characteristics of a Solid Set Canopy Delivery System in High Density Apples
Next Article in Special Issue
Local and Landscape Effects to Biological Controls in Urban Agriculture—A Review
Previous Article in Journal
Carry-Over Niches for Lepidopteran Maize Stemborers and Associated Parasitoids during Non-Cropping Season
Previous Article in Special Issue
Influence of Insect Growth Regulators on Stephanitis pyrioides (Hemiptera: Tingidae) Eggs and Nymphs
Font Type:
Arial Georgia Verdana
Font Size:
Aa Aa Aa
Line Spacing:
Column Width:

Pest Control Potential of Social Wasps in Small Farms and Urban Gardens

Fábio Prezoto
Tatiane Tagliati Maciel
Mateus Detoni
Angie Zuleidi Mayorquin
1 and
Bruno Corrêa Barbosa
Laboratório de Ecologia Comportamental e Bioacústica, Depto. de Zoologia, Programa de Pós-graduação em Comportamento e Biologia Animal, Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora, Juiz de Fora 36036-900, Brazil
Department of Zoology, University of Otago, 340 Great King Street, P.O. Box 56, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2019, 10(7), 192;
Submission received: 30 April 2019 / Revised: 20 June 2019 / Accepted: 21 June 2019 / Published: 28 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Small Farms and Gardens Pest Management)


In environments undergoing constant transformation due to human action, such as deforestation and urbanization, the emergence of pests has become a challenge for agriculture and human welfare. In Brazil, over a thousand tonnes of pesticides are used annually, causing serious environmental damage such as the decline of insect populations. It is necessary to search for control alternatives in order to reduce the environmental impact caused by insecticides. This review aims to describe the use of social wasps as agents of biological control, focusing on the perspectives of their use in small farms and urban gardens, and to discuss the benefits of using this method. Studies have shown that 90–95% of the prey captured by wasps in small crops is made of leaf-eating caterpillars. In urban gardens, wasps diversify their prey, among which potential disease vectors, such as dipterans, stand out. We outline techniques for managing social wasp colonies in small farm and urban garden settings, including the use of artificial shelters. Among the advantages of using wasps as control agents, we highlight the practicality of the method, the low operational cost, the absence of prey resistance and the decrease of the use of insecticides.

1. Introduction

Human action transforms natural environments radically through deforestation for the expansion of agricultural and urban areas. In 2008, for the first time in recorded history, more than half of the human population worldwide was reported to live in urban centers. It is estimated that by 2025, this urban proportion might increase to two-thirds of the human population [1].
Continuous environmental transformation has a direct impact on entomological fauna, since only a small number of species are able to survive and thrive in altered ecosystems. Of these, pest species cause losses for the economy and human welfare. In many areas, the main strategy for attempting to keep pest populations under control and minimize losses has been the intensive application of pesticides. In Brazil, for instance, 936,000 tonnes of pesticides have been sold in 2014, costing 6.5 billion US dollars to the farming industry [2].
According to a 2019 publication by Sanches-Bayo and Wyckhuys [3], based on 73 reports on the decline of insect fauna over the world, extinctions are happening at an alarming rate and may reach 40% of certain insect taxa in the next decades. These authors outline environmental changes from deforestation, urbanization and chemical pollution as the main causes for the decline of insect communities. Within chemical pollutions, synthetic insecticides applied on intensive agriculture are highlighted as a cause for special concern [3].
This scenario presents an urgent need for insect pest control strategies that reduce environmental impact. The exploitation of natural enemies as agents of biological control stand out as a sustainable alternative. Conservation biological control stands out as the most desirable way to manage pest arthropods. However, due to the complexity of interactions between plant populations, pest arthropods, and natural enemies, this practice still faces challenges to field application [4]. Among the advantages of this control technique when compared to synthetic insecticides, we can highlight lower operational cost, absence of prey resistance and no environmental pollution [5].
In 1951, DeBach [6] was already discussing the importance of social wasps as controllers of countless agricultural pests, especially during population booms when many host-specific natural enemies are inefficient. By 1957 North Carolina, USA, Rabb and Lawson [7] demonstrated that the introduction of Polistes to tobacco crops resulted in the reduction of 68% of the damage caused by the caterpillar Manduca sexta (Linnaeus, 1763). In China, 1976, experiments carried out by the Institute of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences of Shang-Chiu [8] resulted in the control of 70–80% of Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner, 1805) and Etiella zinckenella (Treitschke, 1832) within only 5–7 days after the introduction of colonies of Polistes wasps in a cotton farm.
Although social wasps are abundant in a diversity of environments throughout the globe (Stenogastrinae with 53 spp, Vespinae with 67 spp and Polistinae with 943 spp), few investigations have focused on their potential as biological pest control agents [9,10,11]. This communication aims to provide insights on the potential use of social wasps as agents of biological pest control in small farms and urban gardens. We also discuss the benefits of this method as a sustainable, low cost alternative for pest control.

2. Foraging Activity in Social Wasps

The foraging activity of social wasps includes the search and attainment of essential resources for the construction and maintenance of their colonies. Through this behavior, ecological interactions are formed such as predation and pollination. For most species of wasps, increased temperatures combined with high luminosity and low air humidity are factors that stimulate colony foraging activity [12]. Although foraging usually occurs through the whole day, it is most intense during the warmest hours of the day (e.g., from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) [13]. Different from solitary species, social wasps continuously search for food resources, which requires a daily foraging effort throughout the colony’s life cycle.
Food resources collected by social wasps can be divided into carbohydrates and proteins. Carbohydrates are used mainly to feed adults and are obtained from honeydew [14], ripe fruit [15], and both floral and extrafloral nectaries [16]. Foragers may participate in the pollination of flowers through these ecological interactions. Besides sugary substances, colonies of wasps need great amounts of protein, which are used to feed their larvae [17]. Various studies report a tendency for wasps to prey on Lepidoptera larvae (caterpillars), although other insect taxa are also captured [12,18]. It is through this prey capture that wasps can control pest populations in small farms and urban gardens. For instance, it is estimated that a single colony of Polistes paper wasps capture over 4 thousand items of prey throughout its life cycle [19].
Wasp foragers look for resources in a species-specific radius of 100–300 m around their nests [19], which determines their flight range. Knowing the flight range of a species is helpful for planning the ideal spacing between colonies during management efforts to avoid overlap in foraging ranges.

3. Prey Captured by Social Wasps

The successful capture of prey is directly reflected in the development of the colony and in the production of new workers, which highlights the value of animal protein on the wasps’ diet. Foragers locate their prey using chemical cues, especially through the detection of allelochemicals produced by plants during herbivory [20], and through visual orientation via prey movement [12]. Social wasp prey identification reveals that, although generalist, wasps tend to capture soft-bodied terrestrial arthropods [14,21] (Figure 1A). Leaf-eating caterpillars (Lepidoptera) are the most common choice, making up 90–95% of the captured prey [22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31]. Other common preys include immature and adult insects such as Diptera, Dermaptera, Orthoptera, Odonata, Hemiptera, Coleoptera, and Hymenoptera, but also spiders [14,21,32]. The preference for preying upon Lepidoptera is a good indicator that wasps could act as biological control agents for economically destructive caterpillar populations such as Spodoptera frugiperda (Smith, 1797), Chlosyne lacinia saundersii Doubl. & Hew, 1849, Alabama argillacea (Hübner, 1818), Anticarsia gemmatalis Hueb., 1818 and Heliothis virescens (Fabricius, 1781), which make up the most common pests abundantly found in small farms in Neotropical environments such as Brazil [5,22].
Studies investigating the protein foraging effort in social wasps have led to the discovery of two key behavioral traits: generalism and opportunism [12]. The opportunistic–generalist foraging behavior allows wasps to survive in a diversity of environments, including altered ecosystems such as small farms and urban gardens, by allowing them a wide and convenient choice of prey [12]. Based on records made in the prey identification studies cited on this paper, we built two ecological networks: one for small farms [24,33,34,35,36,37,38,39,40] and another for urban gardens [41,42,43,44] (Figure 2A,B). This diagram (Figure 2) was built from a binary matrix using “social wasp species” and “taxa captured by social wasp foragers”. The graph was generated by using the package bipartite [45] in the R software [46].
In those networks, wasps prey on Lepidoptera in higher proportions at small farms, probably due to the higher abundance of leaf-eating insects in farming environments. Greater diversity of captured prey is found in urban gardens, with Diptera more captured than Lepidoptera. This versatility in social wasp diet composition is evidence of their foraging behavioral plasticity. In addition, it is important to note that Diptera includes important disease vectors such as the mosquitoes of the Culicidae family, especially the Aedes genus. Our analysis suggests that social wasps could be valuable biological control agents, standing out due to their wide prey selection and absence of the typical setbacks seen in chemical control such as the creation of resistance in pest populations [47].

4. The Management of Social Wasp Colonies for Exploitation as Pest Predators

The critical step towards exploiting ecological services provided by social wasps relies on the ability to handle wasp colonies and manage their populations. Ubiquitous human impact on the environment often results in very high pest densities [48]. Even if a diverse community of social wasps is naturally present, it may be unable to contribute to significant pest control due to its own behavioral and ecological thresholds [12,49]. Therefore, the exploitation of social wasps as pest predators requires methods that allow for artificially increasing their own population densities in the site of interest.
The rearing of social insect colonies in artificial environments for economical purposes is best represented by apiculture and the methods designed for allowing beehives to thrive in semi-natural or artificial systems [50]. However, despite taxonomical relatedness and behavioral similarities between honey bees and social wasps, the rearing of wasp colonies in systems with any degree of artificiality is considerably more challenging. Social wasp colonies are sensitive to manipulation, and while individuals survive for considerable periods in laboratory settings [51], there no reports of a social wasp colony retaining its normal behavior or successfully reproducing in the lab. The European paper wasp, Polistes dominula (Christ, 1971), is a clear exception, but even with the possibility of reproduction, their behavior in artificial environments seems to be strongly stereotyped [52].
With the rearing of many social wasps infeasible, researchers have turned to the alternative solution of transferring colonies between habitats using artificial shelters allows for the creation of conveniently placed and sized populations. This is an important method for researching their biology and behavior, but may also be used to exploit pest predation in agriculture [33]. However, this alternative also presents limitations: wasps are prone to abandon their nests after the relocation, likely a response to the stress of manipulation or an unsuitable surrounding environment—such as inadequate sheltering or lack of environmental resources [32].
Reports of Polistes wasp colonies being successfully relocated focused on their potential for pest control [31,33,53,54,55]. Polistes nests consist in a single vegetal fiber exposed comb connected to the substrate through a peduncle [56]. Nests are often found on natural or man-made structures that provide shelter against harsh weather conditions, such as tree branches or eaves of buildings [19]. This nest architecture is more helpful in the removal of entire colonies for the transference when compared to the bigger and more structurally complex nests of the swarm-founding Polistinae or the Vespinae.
Relocation methods focus on removing the whole nest from the original substrate and fixating it to an artificial shelter in the new habitat. The removal of the nest from the original habitat is usually carried out at night, to ensure that foragers are in the colony and avoid population loss [33]. The nest and wasp population are kept inside a plastic bag and immediately transferred to the new location, where the nest may be directly glued to the shelter. The bag containing the wasps is then fixed around the shelter overnight to stimulate contact between wasps and the nest and avoid immediate abandonment due to manipulation stress [33]. The shelters consist of thin plastic or wooden boxes without their bottom surface, supported by a vertical wooden beam whose height can be adjusted accordingly to the species nesting habits or research purpose [31]. Nests are placed inside the box, which provides shelter from rain or strong winds, and allows them to forage at will (Figure 1B). The first week after transference is considered critical for the acceptance of the new environment [31], after which the remaining colonies usually show normal activity and development. These methods are noteworthy for their low cost, simple design and considerable success rate (reported to range from 60–75%) [33,55].
For Vespinae wasps, notably in the Vespula genus, the adaptation of methods designed to shelter honey bee hives in layered wooden boxes have been successful for research purpose e.g., References [57,58,59]. Underground nests are anesthetized and excavated from their natural habitat, after which their envelope is removed and their combs are individually glued to one or more layers of the artificial ‘hive’ [57]. As with the polistines, the replacement of the hived colonies is carried out at night to minimize population losses [59]. Despite the highly artificial setting, wasp colonies are tolerant to this manipulation and may continue to develop after relocation [59]. However, transferring Vespula colonies to a new location is a more delicate process than what has been done with Polistes since it involves considerably larger populations, the use of anesthetics, and the ‘hive’ structure is more complex and costly than artificial shelters for paper wasps. This may be a limiting element for the management of Vespula for economic exploitation. Nevertheless, their large populations and considerable foraging range (up to more than 300 m from the nest in some species) [60] suggest that even a relocation of a few wasp colonies could have a significant impact on pest populations, especially in areas where other social wasp taxa are underrepresented.
Another limiting aspect of this management technique is the invasive potential of social wasps. As with any other biological control effort, the areas where pest control is desired must undergo careful ecological assessment to avoid the risk of accidental introduction of exotic species to natural environments. Invasive populations of social wasps can cause severe environmental imbalance by becoming pests themselves, when their predation behavior endangers native species [61]. The most obvious example of this risk is the introduction of exotic Vespula wasps in the beech forests of New Zealand’s South Island where the colonies’ natural cycle may be disrupted, resulting in very high population densities of wasps which outcompete endangered bird species for food and can prey on native invertebrates to their disappearance [62]. The ideal candidates for colony transference are thus native species with a good natural abundance, minimizing problems caused by increased densities or by handling species with small populations.

5. Prey Captured and Used by Social Wasps in Small Farms: A Study with Polistes simillimus

Despite what is known about prey captured by social wasps, there is a lack of studies showing social wasps being used in pest control programs. In 1999, research in Brazil by Prezoto and Machado [33] assessed the predatory behavior of Polistes simillimus (Zikan, 1951) on the fall armyworm, S. frugiperda, in a small corn farm from planting to harvest. To do this, the authors transferred colonies of P. simillimus to experimentally design wooden shelters installed around the crop.
In the initial stages, 500 m2 of crop was infested with first-instar S. frugiperda caterpillars, followed by the transference of 20 P. simillimus colonies to the shelters. For 12 weeks, the authors collected prey captured by wasps by intercepting foragers returning to their nests. Around 90% of the prey captured by the wasps was made of Lepidoptera caterpillars, and, of those, S. frugiperda was the most common item (23.07%).
By the end of the crop cycle, the population of S. frugiperda was reduced by 77.16%. Incidentally, a naturally present second pest species, the American cotton bollworm [Helicoverpa zea (Boddie, 1850)], which feeds on corn cobs, had its population reduced by 80% at the same time. The experimental crop had its productivity increased by 15.94% when compared to the control crop, and the average ear mass was 13.07% higher in the wasp-treated crop. These results show that P. simillimus was efficient in locating and capturing S. frugiperda on the developing ears, where chemical compounds are usually less effective.
Comparatively, in a study with a similar approach, the social wasp Polybia ignobilis (Haliday, 1836) was shown to reduce 70% of the population of Ascia monuste (Godard, 1919) caterpillars (Lepidoptera: Pieridae) on kale crops [63]. These results are similar to Prezoto and Machado [32] in which both show a high rate of success in controlling specific pest populations, attesting to the social wasps’ potential as a biological control agent.

6. Prey Captured and Used by Social Wasps in Urban Gardens: A Study with Polybia platycephala

In a study carried out by Prezoto et al. in 2005 [42], prey captured by the swarm-founding wasp Polybia platycephala (Richards, 1978) was analyzed in the Juiz de Fora municipality (21°46′ S 43°21′ W, altitude 800 m) in the southeast of Brazil. Polybia platycephala foragers returning to their nests in urban garden areas were intercepted during the warmer periods of the day (10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.) (Figure 1C) and their prey was collected for identification over 70 h of fieldwork. Of the 84 prey items collected from wasps, five insect orders could be identified: Diptera (33.4%), Lepidoptera (28.6%); Hemiptera (12.0%); Hymenoptera (9.4%); and Coleoptera (7.2%).
These results differ from most published research on prey capture for social wasps, which usually show a much higher proportion of Lepidoptera caterpillars (90–95%) [24,26,27]. However, that discrepancy further points to behavioral plasticity in wasp foraging.
The diversity of preys captured by P. platycephala in urban gardens is associated with pests present in urban environments, like mosquito and fly larvae, leaf-eating caterpillars, aphids and ant reproductives. Among the Diptera captured by wasps, most individuals belonged to the Culicidae family (26.2%). The fact that Culicidae was well represented on the wasp’s diet is interesting, given that this family includes mosquitoes of the genus Aedes, vectors of diseases such as the dengue, zika and chikungunya fevers—all of which are responsible for a number of deaths in Brazil [64]. The results suggest that adequate management of P. platycephala colonies in urban areas may play a role in urban pest control efforts, reducing the costs and setbacks of traditional control methods and achieving a balance between prey and predator populations in these environments.

7. The Potential of Social Wasps as Biological Control Agents

Social wasps are present in almost every terrestrial biome, with the exceptions being polar regions and high altitudes. About 1000 known species exist, many of which are easily found in urban environments. Among the most common genera we can highlight for pest control include Polistes, Mischocyttarus, Polybia, Protopolybia, Vespula, and Ropalydia [9,10,11]. Despite their common presence in urban areas, the foraging activity and predation behavior is well known for less than 20 species of social wasps. Part of this knowledge gap could be related to the popular association of wasps to the risk of getting stung, which demotivates studies focused on the group [65]. Still, there are a number of publications that support the use of social wasps as biological control agents [32,53,63,66,67].
Social wasp colony management in artificial shelters is a feasible, simple, and cost-effective technique. This method is better suited to systems such as small farms and urban gardens, since wasps require some environmental complexity in order to maintain their colonies, such as sources of water, access to both sugars and protein, and additional nesting sites. Social wasp biocontrol would therefore have very limited performance in areas such as plantations because of monocrop landscape heterogeneity.

8. Conclusions

The predatory behavior of social wasp is beneficial to human populations, since it embodies a readily available, consistent ecological service. Through their ecology and behavior, social wasps represent a potentially sustainable alternative to traditional pest control strategies. Once transferred to a new location, wasp populations may remain active for years by reproducing on their own, thus ensuring a much desired long-term predatory action.


The authors would like to thank Clare I. M. Adams for providing draft comments, and the reviewers for their valuable suggestions. This work was supported by the Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora (UFJF), the University of Otago, the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES), the Conselho de Desenvolvimento Cientifico e Tecnologico (CNPq), and the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG).

Conflicts of Interest

The author declares no conflict of interest.


  1. Botkin, D.; Keller, E. Ciência ambiental: Terra, um Planeta Vivo; LTC: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2011; 681p. [Google Scholar]
  2. Teodorovicz, T.; Alvarez, V.M.P.; Guimarães, T.A. Os mercados relevantes do ramo de agrotóxicos. Ensaios FEE 2016, 36, 869–892. [Google Scholar]
  3. Sanches-Bayo, F.; Wyckhuys, K.A.G. Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers. Biol. Conserv. 2019, 232, 8–27. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  4. De Melo, B.A. Controle Biológico Conservativo e Produção Integrada do Morangueiro (PIMo). Ph.D. Thesis, Universidade Federal de Lavras, Lavras, Brazil, 2017. [Google Scholar]
  5. Parra, J.R.P.; Botelho, P.S.M.; Corrêa-Ferreira, S.; Bento, J.M.S. O Futuro do Controle Biológico. In Controle Biológico no Brasil, Parasitóides e Predadores; Parra, J.R., Botelho, P.S.M., Corrêa-Ferreira, S., Bento, J.M.S., Eds.; Manole: São Paulo, Brazil, 2002; pp. 581–587. [Google Scholar]
  6. DeBach, P. The necessity for an ecological approach to pest control on citrus in California. J. Econ. Entomol. 1951, 44, 443–447. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  7. Rabb, R.L.; Lawson, F.R. Some factors influencing the predation of Polistes wasps on tobacco hornworm. J. Econ. Entomol. 1957, 50, 778–784. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  8. Institute of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences of Shang-Chiu. A preliminary study on the bionomics of hunting wasps and their utilization in cotton insect control. Acta Entomol. Sin. 1976, 19, 313–318. [Google Scholar]
  9. Richards, O.W. The Social Wasps of the Americas Excluding the Vespinae; British Museum (Natural History): London, UK, 1978; 580p. [Google Scholar]
  10. Carpenter, J.M. The phylogenetic relationships and natural classification of the Vespoidea (Hymenoptera). Syst. Entomol. 1982, 7, 11–38. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  11. Ross, K.G.; Matthews, R.W. The Social Biology of Wasps; Cornell University Press: Ithaca, NY, USA, 1991. [Google Scholar]
  12. Richter, R.M. Social Wasp (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) Foraging Behavior. Annu. Rev. Entomol. 2000, 45, 121–150. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  13. Tindo, M.; Dejean, A. Rhythm of activity and feeding behavior of Belonogaster juncea juncea (Hymenoptera:Vespidae). Sociobiology 1998, 32, 101–107. [Google Scholar]
  14. Jeanne, R.L.; Taylor, B.J. Individual and Social Foraging in Social Wasps. In Food Exploitation by Social Insects: Ecological, Behavioral and Theoretical Approaches; Harau, S., Hrncir, M., Eds.; CRC: Boca Raton, FL, USA, 2009; pp. 53–79. [Google Scholar]
  15. Barbosa, B.C.; Paschoalini, M.F.; Prezoto, F. Temporal activity patterns and foraging behavior by social wasps (Hymenoptera, Polistinae) on fruits of Mangifera indica L. (Anacardiaceae). Sociobiology 2014, 61, 239–242. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  16. Clemente, M.A.; Lange, D.; Del-Claro, K.; Prezoto, F.; Campos, N.R.; Barbosa, B.C. Flower-visiting social wasps and plants interaction: Network pattern and environmental complexity. Psyche (Camb. Mass.) 2012, 2012, 478431. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  17. Spradbery, J.P. Wasps: An Account of the Biology and Natural History of Solitary and Social Wasps; University of Washington Press: Seattle, WA, USA, 1973; 408p. [Google Scholar]
  18. Prezoto, F.; Cortes, S.A.O.; Melo, A.C. Vespas: De vilãs a parceiras. Ciência Hoje 2008, 48, 70–73. [Google Scholar]
  19. Prezoto, F.; Ribeiro Júnior, C.; Cortes, S.A.O.; Elisei, T. Manejo de vespas e marimbondos em ambiente urbano. In Manejo de Pragas Urbanas, 1st ed.; Pinto, A.S., Rossi, M.M., Salmeron, E., Eds.; CP2: Piracicaba, Brazil, 2007; pp. 123–126. [Google Scholar]
  20. Saraiva, N.B.; Prezoto, F.; Fonseca, M.G.; Blassioli-Morae, M.C.; Borges, M.; Laumann, R.A.; Auad, A.M. The social wasp Polybia fastidiosuscula Saussure (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) uses herbivore-induced maize plant volatiles to locate its prey. J. Appl. Entomol. 2017, 141, 1–10. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  21. Dejean, A.; Rodriguez-Perez, H.; Carpenter, J.M.; Azémar, F.; Corbara, B. The predatory behavior of the Neotropical social wasp Polybia rejecta. Behav. Process. 2017, 140, 161–168. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  22. Silva, A.G.A.; Gonçalves, C.R.; Galvão, D.M.; Gonçalves, A.J.L.; Gomes, J.; Silva, M.N.; Simoni, L. Quarto Catálogo Dos Insetos Que Vivem Nas Plantas do Brasil: Seus Parasitos e Predadores; Ministério da Agricultura, Depto. de Defesa e Inspeção Agropecuária: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1968; 621p. [Google Scholar]
  23. Gravena, S. Táticas de manejo integrado do bicho mineiro do cafeeiro Perileucoptera coffeella (Guérin-Méneville, 1842): I—Dinâmica populacional e inimigos naturais. An. Soc. Entomol. Bras. 1983, 12, 61–71. [Google Scholar]
  24. Gobbi, N. Contribuição Ao Estudo do Ciclo Básico de Espécies do Gênero Polybia, Com Especial Referencia A Polybia (Myrapetra) Paulista e P. Occidentalis. Rev. Bras. Entomol. 1984, 28, 451–457. [Google Scholar]
  25. Gobbi, N.; Machado, V.L.L. Material Capturado e Utilizado Na Alimentacao de Polybia (Myrapetra) Paulista (Hymenoptera, Vespidae). An. Soc. Entomol. Bras. 1985, 14, 189–195. [Google Scholar]
  26. Gobbi, N.; Machado, V.L.L. Material Capturado e Utilizado Na Alimentação de Polybia Ignobilis. An. Soc. Entomol. Bras. 1986, 15, 117–124. [Google Scholar]
  27. Picanço, M.; Ribeiro, L.J.; Leite, G.L.D.; Gusmão, M.R. Seletividade de inseticidas a Polybia ignobilis (Halliday) (Hymenoptera, Vespidae) predador de Ascia monuste orseis (Godart) (Lepidoptera: Pieridae). An. Soc. Entomol. Bras. 1988, 27, 85–90. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  28. Marques, O.M. Vespas sociais (Hymenoptera, Vespidae): Características e importância em agrossistemas. Insecta 1996, 5, 13–39. [Google Scholar]
  29. Campos-Farinha, A.E.C.; Pinto, N.P.O. Natural enemies of Chlosyne lacinia saundersii Doubl. & Hew. (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) in the state of São Paulo. An. Soc. Entomol. Bras. 1996, 25, 165–168. [Google Scholar]
  30. Prezoto, F.; Santos-Prezoto, H.H.; Machado, V.L.L.; Zanúncio, J.C. Prey Captured and Used in Polistes versicolor (Hymenoptera, Vespidae) Nourishment. Neotrop. Entomol. 2006, 35, 707–709. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  31. Elisei, T.; Nunes, J.V.E.; Ribeiro Junior, C.; Fernandes Junior, A.J.; Prezoto, F. Uso da vespa social Polistes versicolor no controle de desfolhadores de eucalipto. Pesqui. Agropecu. Bras. 2010, 45, 958–964. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  32. Carpenter, J.M.; Marques, O.M. Contribuição ao Estudo dos Vespídeos do Brasil; Série Publicações Digitais; Universidade Federal da Bahia, Departamento de Fitotecnia: Salvador, Brazil, 2001; Volume 3. [Google Scholar]
  33. Prezoto, F.; Machado, V.L.L. Ação de Polistes (Aphanilopterues) simillimus Zikán, 1951 (Hymenoptera, Vespidae) na produtividade de uma lavoura de milho infestada com Spodoptera frugiperda (Smith) (Lepidoptera, Noctuidae). Rev. Bras. Zoociênc 1999, 1, 19–30. [Google Scholar]
  34. Prezoto, F.; Braga, N. Predation of Zaprinus indianus (Diptera: Drosophilidae) by the social wasp Synoeca cyanea (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). Fla. Entomol. 2013, 96, 670–672. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  35. Araujo, F.E.; Cavalcante, R.D.; Cavalcante, M.L.S.; Melo, Q.M.S. Polybia sericea Olivier, 1791 (Hymenoptera, Vespidae), predador de Diatraea saccharalis Fabr. (Lepidoptera, Crambidae), no Ceará. Fitossanidade 1977, 2, 59. [Google Scholar]
  36. Herdina, A.; Bitencourt, G.; Di Mare, R.; Barbosa, B.C. Polybia (Myrapetra) scutellaris (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) foraging on flies at carcasses of Rattus norvegicus (Rodentia: Muridae). Sociobiology 2016, 63, 728–730. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  37. Giannotti, E.; Prezoto, F.; Machado, V.L.L. Foraging activity of Polistes lanio lanio (Fabr.) (Hymenoptera, Vespidae). An. Soc. Entomol. Brasil 1995, 24, 455–463. [Google Scholar]
  38. Prezoto, F.; Giannotti, E.; Machado, V.L.L. Atividade forrageadora e material coletado pela vespa social Polistes simillimus Zikán, 1951 (Hymenoptera, Vespidae). Insecta 1994, 3, 11–19. [Google Scholar]
  39. Oliveira, M.M.; Gomes, F.B.; Somavilla, A.; Krug, C. Polistes canadensis (Linnaeus, 1758) (Vespidae: Polistinae) in the Western Amazon: A Potential Biological Control Agent. Sociobiology 2017, 64, 477–483. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  40. López, Y.; Hernández, J.; Caraballo, P. Actividad de forrajeo de la avispa social Polybia emaciata (Hymenoptera: Vespidae: Polistinae). Rev. Colomb. Entomol. 2013, 39, 250–255. [Google Scholar]
  41. Machado, V.L.L.; Gobbi, N.; Alves Junior, V.V. Material Capturado e Utilizado Na Alimentacao de Polybia (Trichothorax) Sericea (Hymenoptera-Vespidae). Rev. Bras. Zool. 1988, 5, 261–266. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  42. Prezoto, F.; Lima, M.A.P.; Machado, V.L.L. Survey of preys Captured and Used by Polybia platycephala (Richards) (Hymenoptera: Vespidae, Epiponini). Neotrop. Entomol. 2005, 34, 849–851. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  43. Gomes, L.; Gomes, G.; Oliveira, H.G.; Morlin Junior, J.J.; Desuó, I.C.; Silva, I.M.D.; Shima, S.N.; Von Zuben, C.J. Foraging by Polybia (Trichothorax) ignobilis (Hymenoptera, Vespidae) on flies at animal carcasses. Rev. Bras. Entomol. 2007, 51, 389–393. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  44. Bichara-Filho, C.C.; Santos, G.M.D.M.; Resende, J.J.; Cruz, J.D.; Gobbi, N.; Machado, V.L.L. Foraging behavior of the swarm-founding wasp, Polybia (Trichothorax) sericea (Hymenoptera, Vespidae): Prey capture and load capacity. Sociobiology 2009, 53, 61–69. [Google Scholar]
  45. Dormann, C.F.; Fründ, J.; Blüthgen, N.; Gruber, B. Indices, graphs and null models: Analyzing bipartite ecological networks. Open Ecol. J. 2009, 2, 7–24. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  46. R Core Team. R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing; R Foundation for Statistical Computing: Vienna, Austria, 2018; Available online: (accessed on 15 April 2019).
  47. Omoto, C.; Diez-Rodríguez, G.I. Herança da resistência de Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) a lambda-cialotrina. Neotrop. Entomol. 2001, 30, 311–316. [Google Scholar]
  48. Matson, P.A.; Parton, W.J.; Power, A.G.; Swift, M.J. Agricultural Intensification and Ecosystem Properties. Science 1997, 277, 504–509. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [Green Version]
  49. Bianchi, F.J.J.A.; Booij, C.J.H.; Tscharntke, T. Sustainable pest regulation in agricultural landscapes: A review on landscape composition, biodiversity and natural pest control. Proc. R. Soc. B 2006, 273, 1715–1727. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  50. Crane, E. The World History of Beekeeping and Honey Hunting; Routledge: New York, NY, USA, 1999; 682p. [Google Scholar]
  51. Santoro, D.; Hartley, S.; Suckling, D.M.; Lester, P. The stinging response of the common wasp (Vespula vulgaris): Plasticity and variation in individual aggressiveness. Insectes Soc. 2015, 62, 455–463. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  52. Jandt, J.M.; Thomson, J.; Geffre, A.C.; Toth, A.L. Lab rearing environment perturbs social traits: A case study with Polistes wasps. Behav. Ecol. 2015, 26, 1274–1284. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  53. Lawson, F.R.; Rabb, R.L.; Guthrie, F.E.; Bowery, T.G. Studies of an integrated control system forhornworms on tobaco. J. Econ. Entomol. 1961, 54, 93–97. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  54. Gould, W.P.; Jeanne, R.L. Polistes Wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) as Control Agents for Lepidopterous Cabbage Pests. Environ. Entomol. 1984, 13, 150–156. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  55. Butignol, E.A. Observações sobre a bionomia da vespa predadora Polistes versicolor (Olivier, 1791) (Hymenoptera, Vespidae) em Florianópolis/SC. An. Soc. Entomol. Bras. 1992, 19, 201–206. [Google Scholar]
  56. Jeanne, R.L. The adaptiveness of social wasp nest architecture. Q. Rev. Biol. 1975, 50, 267–287. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  57. Akre, R.D.; Hill, W.B.; MacDonald, J.F. Artificial housing for yellow jacket colonies. J. Kans. Entomol. Soc. 1973, 66, 803–805. [Google Scholar]
  58. Jandt, J.M.; Jeanne, R.L. German yellowjacket (Vespula germanica) foragers use odors inside the nest to find carbohydrate food sources. Ethology 2005, 111, 641–651. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  59. Akre, R.D.; Hill, W.B.; MacDonald, J.F.; Garnett, W.B. Foraging distances of Vespula pensylvanica workers. J. Kans. Entomol. Soc. 1975, 48, 12–16. [Google Scholar]
  60. Donovan, B.J. Potential manageable exploitation of social wasps, Vespula spp. (Hymenoptera: Vespidae), as generalist predators of insect pests. Int. J. Pest Manag. 2003, 49, 281–285. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  61. Lester, P.J.; Beggs, J.R. Invasive success and management strategies for social Vespula wasps. Annu. Rev. Entomol. 2019, 64, 51–71. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  62. Chapman, R.E.; Bourke, A.F. The influence of sociality on the conservation biology of social insects. Ecol. Lett. 2001, 4, 650–662. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  63. Picanço, M.C.; Oliveira, I.R.; Rosado, J.F.; Silva, F.M.; Gontijo, P.C.; Silva, R.S. Natural Biological Control of Ascia monuste by the Social Wasp Polybia ignobilis (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). Sociobiology 2010, 55, 1–10. [Google Scholar]
  64. Araújo, V.E.M.; Bezerra, J.M.T.; Amâncio, F.F.; Passos, V.M.A.; Carneiro, M. Aumento da carga de dengue no Brasil e unidades federadas, 2000 e 2015: Análise do Global Burden of Disease Study 2015. Rev. Bras. Epidemiol. 2017, 20, 205–216. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  65. Sumner, S.; Law, G.; Cini, A. Why we love bees and hate wasps. Ecol. Entomol. 2018, 43, 836–845. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  66. Santana, P.A.; Gonring, A.H.R.; Picanço, M.C.; Ramos, R.S.; Martins, J.C.; Ferreira, D.D. Natural Biological Control of Diaphania spp. (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) by Social Wasps. Sociobiology 2012, 59, 561–571. [Google Scholar]
  67. Picanço, M.C.; Bacci, L.; Queiroz, R.B.; Silva, G.A.; Miranda, M.M.M.; Leite, G.L.D.; Suinaga, F.A. Social wasp predators of Tuta absoluta. Sociobiology 2011, 58, 1–13. [Google Scholar]
Figure 1. (A) Social wasp holding a fragmented caterpillar prey in a small farm environment. (B) Example of artificial shelter used for transferring colonies of social wasps during their management for pest control purpose in small farms; inside of the shelter is highlighted in the image. (C) A well-established colony of social wasps in an urban area.
Figure 1. (A) Social wasp holding a fragmented caterpillar prey in a small farm environment. (B) Example of artificial shelter used for transferring colonies of social wasps during their management for pest control purpose in small farms; inside of the shelter is highlighted in the image. (C) A well-established colony of social wasps in an urban area.
Insects 10 00192 g001
Figure 2. Ecological network between social wasps and their prey in small farms (A) and urban gardens (B). The left columns on each side represent social wasps, while the right columns represent captured prey. The height of each rectangle is directly proportional to the number of records made for the species, while links represent the number of records made between the pair of species.
Figure 2. Ecological network between social wasps and their prey in small farms (A) and urban gardens (B). The left columns on each side represent social wasps, while the right columns represent captured prey. The height of each rectangle is directly proportional to the number of records made for the species, while links represent the number of records made between the pair of species.
Insects 10 00192 g002

Share and Cite

MDPI and ACS Style

Prezoto, F.; Maciel, T.T.; Detoni, M.; Mayorquin, A.Z.; Barbosa, B.C. Pest Control Potential of Social Wasps in Small Farms and Urban Gardens. Insects 2019, 10, 192.

AMA Style

Prezoto F, Maciel TT, Detoni M, Mayorquin AZ, Barbosa BC. Pest Control Potential of Social Wasps in Small Farms and Urban Gardens. Insects. 2019; 10(7):192.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Prezoto, Fábio, Tatiane Tagliati Maciel, Mateus Detoni, Angie Zuleidi Mayorquin, and Bruno Corrêa Barbosa. 2019. "Pest Control Potential of Social Wasps in Small Farms and Urban Gardens" Insects 10, no. 7: 192.

Note that from the first issue of 2016, this journal uses article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Metrics

Back to TopTop