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Concept: Apocrita


This study investigated the chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of propolis collected from two stingless bee species Tetragonula laeviceps and Tetrigona melanoleuca (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Six xanthones, one triterpene and one lignane were isolated from Tetragonula laeviceps propolis. Triterpenes were the main constituents in T. melanoleuca propolis. The ethanol extract and isolated compounds from T. laeviceps propolis showed a higher antibacterial activity than those of T. melanoleuca propolis as the constituent α-mangostin exhibited the strongest activity. Xanthones were found in propolis for the first time; Garcinia mangostana (Mangosteen) was the most probable plant source. In addition, this is the first report on the chemical composition and bioactivity of propolis from T. melanoleuca.

Concepts: Honey bee, Bee, Apidae, Pollinators, Apocrita, Garcinia, Purple Mangosteen, Button Mangosteen


The yellow-legged or Asian hornet (Vespa velutina colour form nigrithorax) was introduced into France from China over a decade ago. Vespa velutina has since spread rapidly across Europe, facilitated by suitable climatic conditions and the ability of a single nest to disperse many mated queens over a large area. Yellow-legged hornets are a major concern because of the potential impact they have on populations of many beneficial pollinators, most notably the western honey bee (Apis mellifera), which shows no effective defensive behaviours against this exotic predator. Here, we present the first report of this species in Great Britain. Actively foraging hornets were detected at two locations, the first around a single nest in Gloucestershire, and the second a single hornet trapped 54 km away in Somerset. The foraging activity observed in Gloucestershire was largely restricted to within 700 m of a single nest, suggesting highly localised movements. Genetic analyses of individuals from the Gloucestershire nest and the single hornet from Somerset suggest that these incursions represent an expansion of the European population, rather than a second incursion from Asia. The founding queen of the Gloucestershire nest mated with a single male, suggesting that sexual reproduction may have occurred in an area of low nest density. Whilst the nest contained diploid adult males, haploid ‘true’ males were only present at the egg stage, indicating that the nest was detected and removed before the production of queens. Members of the public reported additional dead hornets associated with camping equipment recently returned from France and imported timber products, highlighting possible pathways of incursion. The utility of microsatellites to inform surveillance during an incursion and the challenge of achieving eradication of this damaging pest are discussed.

Concepts: Reproduction, Insect, Honey bee, Beekeeping, Wasp, Apocrita, Vespidae, Asian giant hornet


Numerous species of gall midges (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) have been recorded from saltbush (Chenopodiaceae: Atriplex) around the world but only 11 of them belong to the large cecidomyiid genus Asphondylia. Of these, two species were described in the late 19th century from complex bud galls on Atriplex halimus in the Mediterranean Basin. In the present study Asphondylia punica is redescribed, A. conglomerata is synonymized with it, and Asphondylia scopuli is described from Atriplex lanfrancoi, an endemic plant to the Maltese Islands. Descriptions are accompanied by information about the galls and life history of the gall midges, and a review of the parasitic Hymenoptera associated with A. scopuli is provided. Four species of parasitoids were found and attributed to the families Eurytomidae, Pteromalidae, Eupelmidae and Eulophidae, of which the pteromalid Mesopolobus melitensis is described as new.

Concepts: Nematocera, Species, Flies, Parasitoid, Apocrita, Biological pest control agents, Cecidomyiidae, Atriplex


This study investigated the effects of ant attendance on the parasitoid community and parasitism of lac insect Kerria yunnanensis aggregations in Yunnan province, China. We manipulated ant attendance to establish three treatments: (1) ant exclusion; (2) low ant attendance by several ant species; and (3) high ant attendance by Crematogaster macaoensis. Five parasitoid species were collected, with two species contributing 82.7 and 13.2% of total abundance respectively. Total parasitoid abundance was lowest in the February sample when K. yunnanensis was in its younger life stage, being significantly lower in the ant exclusion treatment. In April, all three treatments had significantly different parasitoid abundances, being highest in the ant exclusion treatment and the lowest in the high ant attendance treatment. When ants were present, there were strong negative relationships between total parasitoid abundance and ant abundance, with the relationships being dependent upon the ant species composition and abundance. The patterns of total parasitoid abundance were driven by the two most abundant parasitoid species. Parasitoid species richness did not differ among treatments or between sample times, however, multivariate analysis confirmed that overall parasitoid community structure differed significantly among treatments and between sample times, with the high ant attendance treatment differing most from the other two treatments. Interestingly the absence of ants did not result in increased parasitism from four of the five parasitoids. Ants in lac insect farming systems have a clear role for agricultural pest management. A full understanding of the asymmetric abilities of ants to influence parasitoid communities, and affect parasitism of hosts will require further experimental manipulation to assess the relative roles of 1) the abundance of each individual ant species on parasitoid access to hosts, 2) competition among parasitoids, and 3) the interaction between the first two factors.

Concepts: Agriculture, Insect, Parasitism, Ant, Hymenoptera, Parasitoid, Apocrita, Pest


Acute coronary syndrome after hymenoptera stings or exposure to environment toxins is referred to as the Kounis syndrome or allergic myocardial ischaemia with or without infarction. We report a case of hornet (Vespa affinis) sting causing Kounis syndrome in Sri Lanka and present a review of literature.

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Angina pectoris, Sri Lanka, Bee sting, Wasp, Apocrita, Sri, Sri Lankan Civil War


Australian stingless bee honeys have shown to exert antioxidant and in vitro antimicrobial properties; however their bioactive factors remained unidentified. This study investigated the antibacterial properties of phenolic extracts from Tetragonula carbonaria honeys. Honeys were harvested from beehives in three sites of South East Australia. Liquid-liquid extractions yielded the phenolic concentrates, for analyses by liquid and gas chromatography mass spectrometry. Antibacterial assays were conducted against Staphylococcus aureus and Klebsiella pneumoniae by in vitro agar diffusion and broth dilution assays. The phenolic extracts averaged to 5.87 mg/100 g of honeys, and constituents were 3-phenyllactic acid, lumichrome, di-glycosil flavonoids, norisoprenoids. The honeys did not contain methylglyoxal, dihydroxyacetone or phenolics characteristic of Leptospermum nectars. Hydrogen peroxide content amounted up to 155.8 µM in honeys. Beyond the bactericidal effects of hydrogen peroxide at 760 µM, other antibacterial factors were the phenolic extracts of ‘sugarbag’ honeys that were active at minimum bactericidal concentrations of 1.2 - 1.8 mg/mL.

Concepts: Oxygen, Staphylococcus aureus, Hydrogen peroxide, Honey bee, Honey, Bee, Apidae, Apocrita


The stinging wasps (Hymenoptera: Aculeata) are an extremely diverse lineage of hymenopteran insects, encompassing over 70,000 described species and a diversity of life history traits, including ectoparasitism, cleptoparasitism, predation, pollen feeding (bees [Anthophila] and Masarinae), and eusociality (social vespid wasps, ants, and some bees) [1]. The most well-studied lineages of Aculeata are the ants, which are ecologically dominant in most terrestrial ecosystems [2], and the bees, the most important lineage of angiosperm-pollinating insects [3]. Establishing the phylogenetic affinities of ants and bees helps us understand and reconstruct patterns of social evolution as well as fully appreciate the biological implications of the switch from carnivory to pollen feeding (pollenivory). Despite recent advancements in aculeate phylogeny [4-11], considerable uncertainty remains regarding higher-level relationships within Aculeata, including the phylogenetic affinities of ants and bees [5-7]. We used ultraconserved element (UCE) phylogenomics [7, 12] to resolve relationships among stinging-wasp families, gathering sequence data from >800 UCE loci and 187 samples, including 30 out of 31 aculeate families. We analyzed the 187-taxon dataset using multiple analytical approaches, and we evaluated several alternative taxon sets. We also tested alternative hypotheses for the phylogenetic positions of ants and bees. Our results present a highly supported phylogeny of the stinging wasps. Most importantly, we find unequivocal evidence that ants are the sister group to bees+apoid wasps (Apoidea) and that bees are nested within a paraphyletic Crabronidae. We also demonstrate that taxon choice can fundamentally impact tree topology and clade support in phylogenomic inference.

Concepts: Evolution, Insect, Cladistics, Bee, Wasp, Ant, Hymenoptera, Apocrita


We present a simple technique for keeping the form of artificially expanded endophalli in bees (Hymenoptera). Endophalli were inflated using the introduction of low melting-point agarose from a syringe inserted in the anterior opening of the metasoma. Under refrigeration, the endophalli kept their expanded shape for up to three days allowing the description of structure, morphometric analyses, and examination of the external sculpturing of the cuticle under scanning electron microscope. The technique provides new possibilities for the study of functional morphology, sexual selection, and reconstruction of bee phylogeny.

Concepts: Electron microscope, Scanning electron microscope, Apocrita


The koinobiont parasitoid Halticoptera circulus (Walker) is a potential biological control agent of leafminers, but it has only rarely been collected from the invasive leafminer, Liriomyza trifolii (Burgess), in Japan. To understand why this is the case, parasitism and development of H. circulus in L. trifolii was compared with parasitism and development in two indigenous leafminer species, Liriomyza chinensis Kato and Chromatomyia horticola (Goureau). There was no significant difference in parasitism rates by H. circulus in the three leafminer species and the eggs and larvae successfully developed in L. chinensis and C. horticola. However, H. circulus failed to develop in L. trifolii, where developmental stages were encapsulated by host haemocytes. This parasitoid may be a good agent to control indigenous leafminers such as L. chinensis and C. horticola but is unlikely to be useful for the biological control of the invasive L. trifolii in Japan.

Concepts: Insect, Parasitism, Developmental psychology, Lepidoptera, Biological pest control, Parasitoid, Apocrita, Leaf miner


The Asian chestnut gall wasp (ACGW; Dryocosmus kuriphilus Yasumatsu, Hymenoptera, Cynipidae) is considered as one of the most dangerous pests of the genus Castanea. In southern Switzerland, repeated heavy ACGW attacks prevented chestnut trees from vegetating normally for years before the arrival and spread of the biological control agent Torymus sinensis (Kamijo, Hymenoptera, Torymidae). This resulted in a greatly reduced green biomass and flower production. In this paper, we analyze the impact of such an ecosystem alteration of the environment on the composition of produced honey. Six beekeepers were chosen from sites with different densities of chestnut trees, each of which providing series of honey samples from 2010 to 2016. We determined the chestnut component in the honeys via a combined chemical and sensory approach, and correlated the obtained results with the degree of yearly ACGW-induced crown damage and weather conditions during the period in question in the surrounding chestnut stands. The chestnut component in the analyzed honey sample series showed a strong correlation with the degree of ACGW-induced crown damage, whereas meteorological conditions of the corresponding year had a very marginal effect. Decreases in the chestnut component of the honey were statistically significant starting from a ACGW infestation level of 30%.

Concepts: Insect, Switzerland, Honey, Bee, Apocrita, Gall, Gall wasp