A. S. (Alpheus Spring) Packard.

Guide to the study of insects, and a treatise on those injurious and beneficial to crops: for the use of colleges, farm-schools, and agriculturists online

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and females, and, generally sterile workers, with a farther dimor-
phism of these three sexual forms, such as Huber has noticed
in the Humble-bee, and a consequent subdivision of labor
among them ; in dwelling in large colonies, thus involving new
and intricate relations with other insects (such as Aphides,
ant-hill-inhabiting beetles, and the peculiar bee-parasites) ;
their wonderful instincts, their living principally on the sweets
and pollen of flowers, and not being essentially carnivorous
(i.e. seizing their prey like the Tiger-beetle) in their hr.bits, as
are a large proportion of the other suborders, with the exception
of Lepidoptera ; and in their relation to man as a domestic an-
imal, subservient to his wants, the Bees, and Hymenoptera
in general, possess a combination of characters which are not
found existing in any other suborder of insects, and which
rank them first and highest in the insect series.

The body-wall of the Hymenoptera is unusually dense and
hard, smooth and highly polished, and either naked, or covered
with hair as in a large proportion of the bees. The head is
large, not much smaller than the thorax, and its front is verti-
cal. The antennae are short, filiform, often geniculate, very
rarely pectinated. The mandibles are large, stout, toothed, and
the maxilhe are well developed into their three subdivisions,
the palpi being usually six-jointed ; the labial palpi are usually
four-jointed, and the prolongation of the under lip, or ligula,
h highly developed, being furnished with a secondary pair
of palpi, the paraglossae, while in the pollen-gathering species
the ligula is of great length, and thus answers much the same
purpose as the spiral tongue (maxillae) of the Lepidoptera.

Reaumur states that the Bee does not suck up the- liquid
sweets, but laps them up with its long slender hairy tongue.


"Even in the drop of honey. the bee bends the end of its
tongue about, and lengthens and shortens it successively, and,
iiidivd, withdraws it from moment to moment." The liquid
passes along the upper surface of the pilose tongue, which is
withdrawn between its sheaths, the palpi and maxillae, and thus
"conveys and deposits the liquid with which it is charged
within a sort of channel, formed by the upper surface of the
tongue and the sheaths which fold over it, by which the liquid
is conveyed to the mouth." (Shuckard.)

The thorax forms a rounded compact oval mass, with the
prothorax and metathorax very small, the mesothorax being
large, and also the propodeum, to which the pedicel of the ab-
domen is attached. The pleurites are large and bulging,
while the sternum is minute. The coxae and trochantines are
large, and quite free from the thorax ; and the trochanters
are small, while the rather slender legs are subject to great
modifications, as they are devoted to so many different uses
by these insects ; thus, in the Sand-wasps they are strongly
bristled for the purpose of digging, and in the Bees, the
basal joint of the tarsi is much enlarged for carrying honey.

"The manner in which the bee conveys either the pollen, or
other material it purposes carrying home, to the posterior
legs, or venter, which is to bear it, is very curious. The
rapidity of the motion of its legs is then very great ; so great,
indeed, as to make it very difficult to follow them ; but it
seems first to collect its material gradually with its mandibles,
from which the anterior tarsi gather it, and that on each side
passes successively the grains of which it consists to the inter-
mediate legs, by multiplicated scrapings and twistings of the
limbs ; this, then, passes it on by similar manoeuvres, and de-
posits it, according to the nature of the bee, upon the pos-
terior tibiae and tarsi, or upon the under side of the abdomen.
The evidence of this process is speedily manifested by the pos-
terior legs gradually exhibiting an increasing pellet of pollen.
Thus, for this purpose, all the legs of the bees are more or less
covered with hair. It is the mandibles which are chiefly used
in their boring or excavating operations, applying their hands:.
or anterior tarsi, only to clear their way ; but by the construc-
tive, or artisan bees, they are used both in their building and


mining operations, and are worked like trowels to collect moist
clay, and to apply it to the masonry of their habitations."

The four wings are present, except in rare instances. They
are small ; the hinder pair long, narrow, ovate, lanceolate.
The costal edge of the fore-wing (Fig. 29), is generally
straight, becoming a little curved towards the apex, which
is obtusely subrectangular ; the outer edge is bent at right
angles, while the inner edge of the wing is long and straight.
The veins are often difficult to trace, as in the outer half of the
wing they break up into a system of net-veins, which are few
in number, yet the continuations of the subcostal, median, and
submedian veins can be distinguished after careful study.

In some low Ichneumonidoe, the Proctotrupidaz, and
Ohalcididce, the veins show a tendency to become obsolete,
only the simple subcostal vein remaining ; and in Pteratomus,
the veins are entirely obliterated, and the linear feather-like
wings are in one pair fissured, reminding us of the Plume-
moths, Pteroplwrus.

The abdomen is composed in the larva state of ten segments,
but in the adult stinging Hymenoptera, of six complete seg-
ments in the females, and seven in the males ; while in the
lower families the number varies, having in the Tenthredi-
nidce, eight tergites on the upper side and six sternites on the
lower side. The remaining segments are, during the transfor-
mations of the insect, aborted and withdrawn within the body.
The ovipositor and corresponding parts in the male have
been described on pp. 14-18.

The nervous system consists in the larvae of eleven ganglia,
in the adult five or six of these remain as abdominal ganglia,
while the remainder, excluding the cephalic ganglia, are placed
in two groups in the thorax. The cerebral ganglia are well
developed, evincing the high intellectual qualities necessary in
presiding over organs with such different uses as the simple
and compound eyes, the antennae, and lingua and palpi, and
mandibles, especially in those sociable species which build
complete nests.

The digestive system, in those bees which sip up their food,
consists, besides the external mouth-parts, of a "long cesoph-


agus which dilates into a thin-walled sucking stomach," which
in the Apiariu' and Vespidce may be simply a lateral ibid,
or, as in ninny Crabronidas, "attached solely Iry a short ;in<l
uarrmv pi-dunc-le." In Formica, Cynips, Leucospis, and Xypltid-
ria there is a globular uncurved callous gizzard, which is en-
veloped b}' the base of the stomach, according to Siebold, who
also states that "those Hymenoptera which are engaged during
a long and active life in labors for the raising and support of
their young, have a pretty long and flexuous stomach and in-
testine, and the first has, usually, many constrictions;" while
the Cynipidce, Ichneumonidce, and Tenthredinidoe ,
which take no care of their young, have only a short small
stomach and intestine. The salivary glands consist of two
rather short ramified tufts, often contained entirely in the head.

The tracheae consist, as in other insects, of two main branches,
from which numerous transverse anastomosing branches are
given off, with numerous vesicular dilatations. Two such vesi-
cles of immense volume are situated at the base of the abdo-
men, which according to ifunter and Newport "serve chiefly
to enable the insect to alter its specific gravity at pleasure dur-
ing flight, and thus diminish the muscular exertion required
during these movements."

The urinary vessels are very numerous in the Hymenoptera ;
they are usually short and surround the pylorus in numbers of
from twenty to one hundred and fift} r .

The two poison glands (Fig. 54, h,g) are composed of long
ramose tubes, resembling the salivary glands in their minute
structure. The poison is poured from these into a pyriform
sac lodged near the base of the sting, which is provided with a
peculiar muscular apparatus for its sudden extension and with-
drawal. The poison, in the Ants, Bees, and Wasps, consists,
according to Will, of "formic acid, and a whitish, fatty, sharp
residuum, the former being the poisonous substance." (Bur-

Whether the wax-secreting apparatus consists of special
glands (as Milne-Edwards supposes) or not, as Dufour, Siebold,
and others contend, is not yet a settled question. Siebold, the
eminent German physiologist, from whose work on the anatomy
of Invertebrata we have drawn so largely, suggests that the


wax u is produced by an exudation from the thin membranes
which connect the different parts of the legs. Moreover, many
other Insects (Coccidce and Aphidce, Plata, etc.) have secretory
products which transude through the skin without the existence
of any special glandular apparatus, and which are hardened by
the air like wax. These products are usually whitish, pulver-
ulent, filamentous, or flocculent substances, which catch upon
the surface of bodies." He also states that there are no such
glands (as are supposed by some to secrete this substance) in the
"bee-workers; but if certain Andrenidae are examined, there
will be found, on each side of their posterior tibiae, a small pyri-
form follicle with an excretory duct, and which secretes an oily
substance." Gerstrecker states that the wax is produced on
the under side of the abdominal segments. It is formed by
chemical changes in the food during the process of nutrition.

The honey is elaborated by an unknown chemical process,
from the food contained in the proventriculus, or crop, and
which is regurgitated into the honey-cells.

The ovaries consist of many-chambered, four, six, or a hun-
dred, short tubes. "The receptacula seminis is nearly always
simple, round or ovoid, and necked, and is prolonged into a
usually short seminal duct." The glandula apx>endicularis con-
sists of a bifurcate tube which opens into the ductus seminalis,
and only rarely into the capsula seminalis itself.

In the Tenthredinidce , "this apparatus is formed on a
different type. ; the seminal vesicle is a simple diverticulum of
the vagina, and more or less distinct from it, besides it is defi-
cient in the accessory gland. The copnlatory pouch is absent in
all the Hymenoptera, as are also the sebaceous glands with those
females which have a sting and a poison gland," while in other
insects the sebaceous glands are present, and it would be nat-
urally inferred, therefore, that the two are homologous, but
modified for diverse functions.

The two testes of the male are "composed of long follicles,
fasciculate and surrounded, together with a portion of the
torose deferent canal, by a common envelope ; but more com-
monly the two testes are contained in a capsule situated on the
median line of the body." (Siebold.)

The eggs are usually long, cylindrical, and slightly curved in


the Bees ; in the Wasps they are more globular, and affixed by
their smaller somewhat pedicelled end to the side, near the bot-
tom of the cell in which the}' are laid. The eggs of the lower
families tend to assume a spherical form. The eggs of dif-
erent species of Bombus present no appreciable differences.

The larva- of the Bees and Wasps, especially the social
species, which live surrounded by their food, are of a very
persistent form, the various genera differing but slightly, while
the species can scarcely be separated. Such we have found to
be the case in the Bees and Wasps ( Vespidce) and Fossorial
Wasps. The sexes of the species with a very thin tegument,
such as Apis, Bombus, and Vespa, can be quite easily distin-
guished, as the rudiments of the genital armor can be seen

The Hymenoptera are mostly confined to the warmer and
temperate regions of the earth ; as we approach the poles, the
Bees disappear, with the exception of Bombus, and perhaps
its parasite Apatlius ; a species of Vespa is found on the Lab-
rador coast, which has a climate like that of Greenland. No
fossorial species of Wasps are known to us to occur in the arc-
tic regions, while a few species of Ants, and several Chalcidi-
dce and Ichneumonidce are not uncommon in Northern
Labrador and Greenland. Our alpine summits, particularly
that of Mt. Washington, reproduces the features of Northern
Labrador and Greenland as regards its Hymenopterous fauna.
The tropics are, however, the home of the Hymenoptera, and
especially of the Bees.

There are estimated to be about twenty-five thousand living
species of this suborder, and this is probabty a much smaller
number than are yet to be discovered.

In geological history, the Hymenoptera do not date far back
compared with the Neuroptera and Orthoptera, and even the
Coleoptera. Indeed they were among the last to appear upon
the earth's surface. The lower forms, so far as the scanty
records show, appeared first in the Jura formation ; the Ants
appear in the Tertiary period, especially in amber.

As we have noticed before, the Hymenoptera are more purely
terrestrial than any other insects. None are known to be
aquatic in the early stages, and only two genera have been found


swimming in the adult state on the surface of pools, and they
are the low, minute, degraded Proctotrupids, Prestiuichia
natans and Polynema natans described by Mr. Lubbock. The
Hymenoptera do not imitate or mimic the forms of other in-
sects, but, on the contrary, their forms are extensively copied in
the Lepidoptera, and especially the Diptera. A partial excep-
tion to this law is seen in the antennae of the Australian genus
Tliaumatosoma, where they are long and slender, and knobbed
as in the butterfly, and also in Tetralonia mirabilis of Smith,
from Brazil.

The Hymenopterft, also, show their superiority to all other in-
sects in the form of their degraded wingless species, such as
Pezomachus, the workers of Formica and the female of Mutilla.
In these forms we have no striking resemblances to lower orders
and suborders, but a strong adherence to their own Hymenop-
terous characters. Again ; in the degradational winged forms,
we rarely find the antennae pectinated ; a common occurrence
in the lower suborders. In a low species of the Apiarice ,
Lamprocolletes dadocerus, from Australia, that land of anom-
alies, the antennae are pectinated. This, Mr. F. Smith, the
best living authority on this suborder, says, "is certainly the
most remarkable bee that I have seen, and the only in-
stance, to my knowledge, of a bee having pectinated antennae ;
such an occurrence, indeed, in the Aculeate Hymenoptera is
only known in two or three instances, as in Psammothenna flab-
ellata amongst the Mutillidce, and again in Ctenocerus Klugii
in* the Pompilidce ; there is also a modification of it in one or
two other species of Pompilidce" Among the Tenthre-
dinidce, the male Lopliyrus has well-pectinated antennae, as
also has Cladomacra macropus of Smith, from New Guinea
and Celebes.

The wings of perhaps the most degraded Hymenoptera, the
Proctotrupidve, are rarely fissured ; when this occurs, as in
Pteratomus Putnamii, they somewhat resemble those of Ptero-
phorus, the lowest moth. It is extremely rare that the com-
pound eyes are replaced by stemmata, or simple eyes ; in but
one instance, the genus AntJwphorabia, are the eyes in the
male sex reduced to a simple ocellus. This species lives in the
darkness of the cells of Anthophora.


By reason of the permanence of the type, due to the high
rank of these insects, the generic and specific characters are
founded on very slight, ditlercnces, so that these insects, and
particularly the two higher families, the Wasps (Vespidce) and
Bees (Ajn'tirf(i') are the most difficult insects to study. The
easiest characters for the recognition of the genera, lie in the
venation of the wings ; though in the fossorial families the legs
vary greatly. The best specific characters lie in the sculptur-
ing :ind style of coloration, but the spots and markings are apt
to vary greatly. The great differences between the sexes are
liable to mislead the student, and hence large collections are
indispensable for their proper study. Bees act as "marriage
priests" in the fertilization of plants, conveying pollen from
flower to flower, and thus insuring the formation of the fruit.
It is said that many plants could not be fertilized without
the interposition of Bees.

Their interesting habits deserve long and patient study ; it
is for their observations on the insects of this suborder that the
names of Reaumur, the tw r o Hubers, and Latreille will be ever
held in special remembrance.

Most Ilymenoptera love the sun, and they may be caught
while flying about flowers. The nests of bees, wasps, and ants
should be sought for and the entire colony captured, together
with the parasites. The hairy species should be pinned while in
the net, and the naked ones can be put in the collecting-boV
tle. The larger species may be pinned, like other insects,
through the thorax; but the minute Chalcids, etc., should be
gun nned, like small Coleoptera, upon cards.

The nests of bees and of wasps and ants and the young in
various stages of growth should be collected, and in such num-
bers as to show their different stages of construction, to serve
as illustrations of insect architecture.

Latreille (Apidce Leach). This and those families
succeeding which are provided with a true sting, were called
by Latreille Ilymenoptera Aculeata. The male antennae are
mostly thirteen-jointed, while in the female they are twelve-
jointed. The females (and the workers, when they exist)
feed the larva, 1 , which mostly live in nests or cells.


In the social Bees, besides the normal male and female forms,
there are asexual females, whose inner genital organs are partly
aborted, though externally only differing in their smaller size
from the true females. The male antennae are longer, tapering
more towards the tips, and the eyes of the male approach each
other closer over the vertex than in the opposite sex, though
these are characters which apply to other Hymenoptera. The
mouth-parts are in the higher genera greatly elongated, the
labium being long, with the lingua of great length, and the
lobes of the maxillae long and knife- shaped ; but these parts, as
well as the form of the jaws, are subject to great modifications
in the different genera : the labial palpi are four-jointed, and
the maxillary palpi are from one to six-jointed. The hind
tibia and basal joint of the tarsi are, in the pollen-gathering
species, very broad ; the tibia is in Apis and Bombus hollowed
on the outside, and stiff bristles project over the' cavity from
each side of the joint, forming the honey-basket (corbiculum) ,
on which the "clodden masses of honey and pollen" are con-
veyed to their nests. In the parasitic genera, such as Aixdhus,
the tibia is, on the contrary, convex, rather than concave,
though of the usual width ; while in Nomada, also parasitic,
the legs are narrow, the tibia not being dilated.

In Andrena and its allies, Halictus and Cottetes, the mouth-
parts, especially the tongue, are much shortened, thus afford-
ing a passage into the Vespidce . In these genera the tongue
is folded back but once between the horny encasement of the
maxillae, but in the higher Apiarice the part formed by the
union of the lingua and maxilla is twice bent back, and thus
protected by the horny lobes of the maxillae. The fore- wings
have two or three subcostal (cubital) cells.

There are two thousand species of this family. The differ-
ences between the larvae of the various genera of this family
are very slight, those of the parasitic species are, however,
readily distinguished from their hosts.

The higher Apiarice, comprising the subfamily Apinm, have
the ligula long, cylindrical, while the labial palpi have two
very long, slender, compressed basal joints, and two short
terminal joints.

The genus Apis has no terminal spurs on the hind tibiae,


while the fore-wings have three subcostal (cubital) cells, the
middle of which is elongated and acutely wedge-shaped. The
eyes in the male are united above; the mouth-parts are nearly
aborted, and the hind legs are smooth. In the female there
are two paraglossae on the ligula, and the maxillary palpi
aiv one-jointed. The worker only differs externally from the
female in the shorter abdomen.

The larva of the Honey-bee closely resembles that of Bom-
bus, but the body is shorter, broader, and more flattened, while
the head is Jess prominent, and the lateral tubercles along the
body are, perhaps, less prominent than in the young Humble-
bee, otherwise the two genera are, in the larval state, much
alike. In its natural position, the larva lies at the bottom of
the cell doubled upon itself.

Though the larva 1 are said usually to feed upon pollen,
Mr. Desborough states that honey alone is the food of the
grub, as he reared 729 larvae with no other food than honey.
But as with the wild bees they may extract honey from the
pollen provided for them. He says the matured bees may be
observed feeding at night on the bee-bread (pollen). Lang-
stroth (The Hive and Honey-bee), however, states that "pol-
len is indispensable to the nourishment of the young. It is
very rich in the nitrogenous substances which are not contained
in the honey."

The Honey-bee, "Apis mellifica, is now distributed over the
civilized world. It was introduced into this country during
the seventeenth century, and into South America in 1845 (Ger-
sta-eker). The Italian, or Ligurian, bee is considered by F.
Smith as being a climatic variety.

The cultivation of the Honey-bee is rapidly increasing in this
country, but the German Bee-masters have made the most pro-
gress in theoretical and practical Bee-culture. Convenient
hives are now constructed by which all the operations of the
bees can be observed at leisure. Gerstsecker thus sums up
the habits of the Honey-bee : A fertilized queen which, with a
few workers, has wintered over, lays its eggs in the spring first
in the worker, and afterwards, at a later period, in the drone-
cells (both arranged in two perpendicular rows of cells). Early
in summer, the workers construct the larger flask-shaped queen-


cells, which are placed on the edge of the comb, and in these
the queen-larvae are fed with rich and' choice nourishment.
As soon as the first of the new brood of queens is excluded
from its cell, which it indicates by a peculiar buzzing noise, it
deserts the old queen, carrying away with it a part of the
swarm, and thus forms a new colony. The recently excluded
queen then takes its marriage flight high in the air with a
drone, and on its return undertakes the management of the
hive, and the duty of laying eggs. When another queen is
disclosed, the same process of forming a new colony goes on.
When the supply of young queens is exhausted, the workers
fall upon the drones and destroy them without mercy. The
first brood of workers live about six weeks in summer, and
then give way to a new brood. Mr. J. G. Desborough states
that the maximum period of the life of a worker is eight months.
The queens are known to live five years, and during their whole
life lay more than a million eggs (V. Berlepsch). Langstroth
states that "during the height of the breeding season, she
will often, under favorable circumstances, lay from 2,000 to
3,000 eggs a day." According to Von Siebold's discovery
only the queens' and workers' eggs are fertilized by sperm-
cells stored in the receptaculum seminis, and these she can
fertilize at will, retaining the power for four or five years,
as the muscles guarding the duct leading from this sperm-bag
are subject to her will. Drone eggs are laid by unfertilized
queen-bees, and in some cases even by worker-bees. This last
fact has been confirmed by the more recent observations of
Mr. Tegetmeier, of London.

Principal Leitch, according to Tegetmeier, has suggested the
theory that a worker egg may develop a queen, if transferred
into a queen-cell. "It is well known that bees, deprived of
their queen, select several worker-eggs, or very young larvae,
for the purpose of rearing queens. The cells in which these
eggs are situated are lengthened out and the end turned down-

Online LibraryA. S. (Alpheus Spring) PackardGuide to the study of insects, and a treatise on those injurious and beneficial to crops: for the use of colleges, farm-schools, and agriculturists → online text (page 11 of 29)