The nests used in this study were obtained from trap-nests (tubes of cardboard and cut bamboo stems) placed on Santa Carlota Farm (Itaoca Section-IS, Santana Section-SS and Cerrado-Ce), Cajuru, SP, Brazil. The number of nests and corresponding species obtained were as follows: 516 nests of T. curvitarsis, 104 of T. rugulosa, 399 of T. diversipes and 98 of T. garofaloi. The most abundant species from SS and Ce was T. curvitarsis, and from IS it was T. diversipes. In general, most nests were collected during the hot and wet season (September to April). The nests were constructed with sand and an oily substance, and a single female established them. The cells were constructed in a linear series, sometimes followed by a vestibular cell. The number of brood cells ranged from 1 to 10 in T. curvitarsis (n=200), and in T. garofaloi (n=51), from 1 to 8 (n=30) in T. rugulosa, and from 1 to 6 (n=37) in T. diversipes. The pollen mass (pollen + oily substance) contained a hollow, sometimes divided by a transverse ridge, on the exposed face of the pollen mass. The egg was vertically positioned in the lower part of the hollow. At times, the closing of a cell was initiated before provisioning was completed, with a construction of a collar at the cell limit. In some nests the final cellular partition also acted as a closure plug. Females began activities at 6:18 a.m. and ended between 3:31 and 6:26 p.m. Some females (T. curvitarsis, T. rugulosa and T. garofaloi) did not spend the nights at their nests, returning to them only the following morning with additional material. In general, the development period (for males and females) was greater in nests collected near the end of the hot and wet season than it was for nests collected in other months. Sex ratios for each species were as follows: T. curvitarsis, 1:1; T. rugulosa, 1.6:1 female; T. diversipes, 1.9:1; T. garofaloi, 2.8:1. Males and females of T. diversipes exhibited statistically similar sizes and in the other three species the females were larger than the males. The mortality rates were statistically similar: 33.2% for T. curvitarsis, 25.8% for T. rugulosa, 26.8% for T. diversipes and 38.2% for T. garofaloi. The parasitoids were: Coelioxoides exulans, Leucospis cayenensis, Anthrax sp., Coelioxys sp., Coelioxoides sp. and individuals of the family Meloidae.
Keywords: apidae, tetrapedia, trap-nests, nesting biology, nest structure, natural enemies, life tables