Encyclopedia of Social Insects

Living Edition
| Editors: Christopher Starr

Urban Social Insects

  • Clint A. PenickEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-90306-4_167-1

Urban areas cover nearly 3% of the Earth’s land surface, an area that is expected to triple in coming decades. Increased urbanization, along with climate change and the spread of invasive species, has been identified as a primary cause of biodiversity loss. But at the same time, recent studies have found that cities can serve as reservoirs for biodiversity, especially for some social insects. Even in a city the size of New York (population 8.6 million), ants outnumber humans 2000 to one, and more than 40 ant species can be found within a ten-mile radius of the Empire State Building [1]. Likewise, urban habitats host a diversity of bees, wasps and termite species that take advantage of urban food sources and nesting sites [2]. While many of these species are considered pests, they also provide valuable ecosystem services that include pollination, nutrient cycling, and refuse removal.

Urban Ants

Ants have lived in cities for millennia, with early Greek and Roman authors offering home...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal BiologyKennesaw State UniversityKennesawUSA