Insectes Sociaux

, Volume 59, Issue 2, pp 141–149 | Cite as

Review of bees as guests in termite nests, with a new record of the communal bee, Gaesochira obscura (Smith, 1879) (Hymenoptera, Apidae), in nests of Anoplotermes banksi Emerson, 1925 (Isoptera, Termitidae, Apicotermitinae)

  • T. F. CarrijoEmail author
  • R. B. Gonçalves
  • R. G. Santos
Review Article


Associations between bees and termites are documented infrequently, but records are available for bee species ranging in behavior from solitary to highly eusocial. The subtribe Meliponina (stingless bees) is the most common bee group reported in termite nests, and, for some species, the occupancy of termite nests may be obligatory. The records of solitary bees nesting within termite nests include species of the tribes Emphorini, Centridini, Megachilini, and Paracolletini. Most of these bees can probably nest in other substrates, and their relationships with termite nests are presumably opportunistic. This study provides a review of published records of bees as guests in termite nests, and also describes the aggregation of nests of Gaesochira obscura within one nest of Anoplotermes banksi in Brazilian Amazonia. One termite nest contained at least ten nest entrances of G. obscura, with burrows 4–6 mm in diameter and about 10 cm long. Each burrow ended in brood cells in different stages of food provisioning and larval development. As commonly reported for other associations of this nature, there was no connection between the tunnels of bees and those of termites. This record adds important data on the biology of A. banksi. Because this is a single record, it is impossible to classify G. obscura either as a termitophile or termitariophile; this species may be opportunistic in relation to nesting substrate.


Nesting biology Termitophiles Termitariophiles Termites Bees Association 



We are very grateful to PROBIOTA Consultoria Ambiental and Santo Antônio Energia for the execution of the Entomological Monitoring Program from Santo Antônio UHE, and full support in the field during the report of the association between Gaesochira obscura and Anoplotermes banksi. Partial support was provided by Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES), Ph.D. scholarship (to TFC) and Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP), Ph.D. Scholarship 07/01296-0 (to RBG). Special thanks for Jerome G. Rozen Jr., Eliana M. Cancello, Felipe Vivallo, the Associate Editor of this Journal, Miriam Richards, and an anonymous review for comments on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© International Union for the Study of Social Insects (IUSSI) 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. F. Carrijo
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • R. B. Gonçalves
    • 1
    • 3
  • R. G. Santos
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Museu de ZoologiaUniversidade de São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Faculdade de Filosofia Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão PretoUniversidade de São PauloRibeirão PretoBrazil
  3. 3.Universidade Federal do ParanáPalotinaBrazil

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