Chemical communication is of fundamental importance to maintain the integration of insect colonies. In honey bees, cuticular lipids differ in their composition between queens, workers and drones. Little is known, however, about cuticular hydrocarbons in stingless bees. We investigated chemical differences in cuticular hydrocarbons between different colonies, castes and individuals of different ages in Schwarziana quadripunctata.
We evaluated the ratio between the number of pollen foragers and the total number of bees entering colonies of Melipona bicolor, a facultative polygynous species of stingless bees. The variables considered in our analysis were: seasonality, colony size and the number of physogastric queens in each colony. The pollen forager ratios varied significantly between seasons; the ratio was higher in winter than in summer. However, colony size and number of queens per colony had no significant effect.
We investigated hygienic behavior in 10 colonies of Plebeia remota, using the pin-killed method. After 24 h the bees had removed a mean of 69.6% of the dead brood. After 48 h, the bees had removed a mean of 96.4% of the dead brood. No significant correlation was found between the size of the brood comb and the number of dead pupae removed, and there was no apparent effect of the origin and the condition of the colony on the hygienic behavior of the bees.
Queen, male and worker production was studied during one year in three Plebeia remota colonies from Atlantic Rainforest in Cunha, São Paulo State, and two from a subtropical Araucaria forest in Prudentópolis, Paraná State. All the colonies were kept in São Paulo city during our study. Plebeia remota has reproductive diapause during autumn and winter, which makes its biology of special interest. Brood production begins before spring, renewing the colony cycle. We sampled brood combs monthly in these five colonies.
Pollen counts from samples taken from storage pots throughout one year (from October to September) were adjusted by Tasei’s volumetric correction coefficient for the determination of pollen sources exploited by two colonies of Nannotrigona testaceicornis in São Paulo, Brazil. The results obtained by this sampling technique for seven months (December to June) were compared with those from corbicula load samples taken within the same period. This species visited a large variety of plant species, but few of them were frequently used.