Kazenas V.L.

Institute of zoology,. Al-Farabi, 93, Almaty, 050060, Qazaqstan

E-mail: kazenas_vl@mail.ru


The article summarizes the main biological features of burrowing and sand wasps. Knowledge of them is of great importance in the development of ways to use useful species, control harmful ones and preserve the overall diversity. The fauna of burrowing and sand wasps in Kazakhstan is rich and diverse. It includes about 800 species. In accordance with modern taxonomy, the burrowing (Sphecidae) and sand (Crabronidae) wasps (which until recently were included in the single family Sphecidae) now belong as independent families to the superfamily Apoidea of the suborder stalk-bellied Hymenoptera. A characteristic feature of the biology of these wasps is the care of the offspring, which consists in the construction of special nests and the preparation of provisions for the larvae in the form of paralyzed or killed insects or spiders. Hunting for these arthropods, wasps perform an important role in nature in regulating their numbers and stabilizing biocenoses.

Key words: Hymenoptera, burrowing wasps, sand wasps, biological features, caring for the offspring.

To download full version of the article by PDF-file:


The fauna of Kazakhstan's beehives and sand bees is rich and diverse. It includes about 800 species (Kazenas [Kazenas] 2002). According to modern taxonomy, the bee (Sphecidae) and sand (Crabronidae) bees (they were recently added to one family Sphecidae) now belong to the family Apoidea as a separate genus (Pulawski, 2021).

A distinctive feature of the biology of these bees is the care of the offspring, which includes the placement of special nests and the preparation of premature insects and spiders as food for their larvae. When hunting these arthropods, bees play an important role in regulating their numbers in nature and stabilizing the biocenoses. Due to the presence of agricultural and forest pests, as well as insects of negative medical and veterinary significance, many bees are promising for biological control of pests. By killing pollinating insects and beneficial entomophagous, only a few species can be harmed (for example, Philanthus relatives, in particular, some species of Ph. Triangulum, Cerceris and Palarus relatives, bee hunting, etc.). However, the practical use of beneficial bees and the control of harmful species is not possible without a thorough knowledge of their biology. This knowledge is needed to clarify some general issues of ethology, zoopsychology, evolutionary theory and other sciences. They play an important role in the development of modern technologies for the conservation of biodiversity.

In addition, the biology of excavator and sand beehives in Kazakhstan is still poorly studied. To determine the general features of the biology of these bees, the author describes the main taxa (relatives, tribes, subspecies and genera) proposed in Kazakhstan. Biological information was collected not only from literary sources in Kazakhstan, but also from foreign, mainly Russian and Western European literature. The full list of references is not available here. Interested readers can find bibliographic lists in the author's publications at the end of this review (Kazenas [Kazenas] 1987, 2001, 2002).

The author is grateful to Esenbekova Perizat Abdykairovna for translating the article into Kazakh.


Iwata K. 1976. Evolution of Instinct. Comparative Ethology of Hymenoptera. New Delhi: Amerind Publ. Co. Pvt Ltdю IX+539 p.

Olberg G. 1959. Das Verhalten der solitaren Wespen Mitteleuropas (Vespidae, Pompilidae, Sphecidae). Berlin: Dtsch. Verl. Wiss. XIII+401 S. Pulawski W.J. 2021. Catalog of Sphecidae sensu lato // https://www.calacademy.org/scientists/ projects/catalog-of-sphecidae

Tinbergen N. 1935. Über die Orientierung des Bienenwolfes. II. Zs. vergl. Physiol. Bd 21. S. 699-716.

Kazenas V.L. 1987. Biology of burrowing wasps (Hymenoptera, Sphecidae) Kazakhstan and Central Asia. Alma-Ata: Institute of Zoology of the Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh SSR. 143 p. (Dep. in VINITI 14.07.1987, No. 5061-B87).

Kazenas V.L. 2001. Fauna and biology of burrowing wasps (Hymenoptera, Sphecidae) Kazakhstan and Central Asia. Almaty: KazgosINTI Publishing House. 333 p.

Kazenas V.L. 2002. Burrowing wasps (Hymenoptera, Sphecidae) Kazakhstan. Tethys Entomol. Res. Vol. IV. P. 3-173.

Malyshev S.I. 1941. On the biology of the wasp Larra anathema Rossi. Nauch. Method. Zap. Glavn. Admin. Zapovednik. Issue 7. Р. 166-172.

Marikovskiy P.I. 1961. Etudes po biologii nasekovykh [Etudes on insect biology]. Izv. AN KirgSSR, ser. biol. nauk. Vol. III, issue 1. Р. 219-221.

Marikovsky P.I. 1963. Healing fire. Moscow. 126 p.

Myartseva S.N. 1976. Notes on the biology of poorly studied sphecids of Turkmenistan (Hymenoptera, Sphecidae). Ecology and economic significance of insects in Turkmenistan. Ashgabat. Р. 72-82.

en_GBEnglish (UK)