Skip to main content


Log in

Effect of habitat amount and complexity on social wasps (Vespidae: Polistinae): implications for biological control

Journal of Insect Conservation Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Agricultural expansions have major negative impacts on terrestrial biodiversity, directly affecting ecosystem services. Social wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae: Polistinae) actively participate in trophic balance in natural ecosystems and biological control of agricultural pests. In this work, we evaluated the richness and composition of social wasps in the interior of the native habitat, edge, and adjacent soybean cultivation area. We also evaluated the effect of the amount and complexity of habitat structure on the richness and composition of social wasps, considering two scales (buffer 5000 and 1000 m). We sampled 42 sites distributed in eight municipalities, in the Midwest region of Brazil, using Malaise trap. In total, we collected 288 individuals distributed in 43 species and 10 genera. The richness of social wasps did not differ among the points (interior, edge, and culture) in the three vegetation categories (Forest, Ecotone, and Cerrado). However, species composition differed between edge and crop, only in areas categorized as Forest. The amount of native habitat influenced social wasp richness and composition only in the Forest areas and social wasp richness was positively related to the complexity of the habitat structure at both scales (buffer 5000 and 1000 m), which had no significant effect on species composition. Social wasps are generalists regarding foraging sites but rely on structurally more complex habitats to nest. Thus, the maintenance of native habitats favors the richness of social wasps in adjacent soybean areas.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Institutional subscriptions

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5


Download references


This study was funded by Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Mato Grosso - Projeto Rede de Biotecnologia Aplicada aos Serviços e Desserviços da Biodiversidade à Agricultura no Cerrado e na Amazônia and fellowship awarded to Ferreira, J.V.A.F (Grant No. 0476362/2017). We are especially grateful to Carlos Barbosa de Andrade and Nayane Silva de Oliveira for fieldwork and lab assistance. We are also grateful to the farmers for logistical support. We would like to express our thanks to Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior, Universidade do Estado de Mato Grosso and Programa de Pós-graduação em Ambiente e Sistemas de Produção Agrícola.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



JVAF, MJBP, DST: Conceptualization. JVAF, DST, RJS, DJS: Formal analysis. MJBP: Funding acquisition. DST, MJBP: Methodology. JVA, DST, RJS: Data collect. AS: Species dentification. JVAF, DST, DJS: Investigation. MJBP: Project administration. DJS, DST: Supervision. JVAF, DST, RJS, DJS: Validation. JVAF, DST, DJS: Writing (original draft preparation). JVAF, DST, DJS, RJS, AS: Writing (review and editing).

Corresponding author

Correspondence to José Victor Alves Ferreira.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Electronic supplementary material

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Ferreira, J.V.A., Storck-Tonon, D., da Silva, R.J. et al. Effect of habitat amount and complexity on social wasps (Vespidae: Polistinae): implications for biological control. J Insect Conserv 24, 613–624 (2020).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: