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Special Postal Issue | Mercosul Series: Beneficial Insects



About the Stamps

Starting from the biological, behavioral and ecological characteristics, six groups of beneficial insects were selected and representative individualized images of each one were produced. With playful features and specific artworks for children characters, the artistic representations were carried out harmoniously in the relationship of colors, shapes and features to create the connection between beneficial insects and nature in a fun way. The issue title is displayed in the right part of the piece, and, in the lower left corner, the common name of the insect representing the group is disclosed. Watercolor and colored pencil techniques were used for the illustrations which were worked in computer graphics, combining vector software resources and digital image treatment.


Beneficial Insects

In this issue, Correios, through Philately, pays tribute to the 30th anniversary of the Treaty of Asunción, which resulted in the Southern Common Market - Mercosur, enabling, among several activities, the creation of Philatelic Issues with a Common Mercosur Theme, which this year will have beneficial insects as a protagonist.

Who’s afraid of insects?

To that question, most people would answer “me”. In general, these small invertebrates generate feelings of fear and repulsion, which are related to their appearance, and because some of them are pests or transmitters of diseases. But it is important to understand that many insect species are beneficial and contribute to food production and conservation of the environment.

In this series of Mercosur stamps, some groups of beneficial insects are presented. Understand why these insects are considered as such and know some of the characteristics of each group.

Micro-wasps

The name itself explains... these insects are very small, they have a few millimeters, and, therefore, many people have never seen them or confuse them with small mosquitoes.

Microwasps, like Trichogramma species, parasitize eggs of other insects to complete their reproductive cycle. Many of the insects that are parasitized by Trichogramma are pests of different cultures. Therefore, these microwaps are widely used to control sugarcane, soybean, corn, tomato pests, among others.

In various parts of the world, including Brazil, it is possible to buy Trichogramma at biofactories to apply to crops. Microwasps are spread throughout the crop in a variety of ways, including the use of drones. This way of controlling insect pests is known as biological control and avoids the excessive use of pesticides, increases food production and helps in protecting the environment.

Dung Beetle

Dung beetles are insects that use mammal feces to feed and build their nests, which is why they are known as dung beetles. Its popular name is a reference to its habit of rolling round balls from animal feces to feed and reproduce. Adults make the balls, bury them in tunnels and lay their eggs. In these fecal acorns, the larvae grow and develop, until reaching the adult stage. Some species in this group may have scavenger habits, using animal remains for their food.

By collecting and burying feces, these beetles play an important role in soil fertilization and seed dispersal. This behavior also helps in the control of agricultural pests that use feces for reproduction, such as the “horn fly” and “stable fly”. They attack stabled cattle to feed on their blood, which makes the animals stressed and sick, and reduces meat and milk production.

Praying Mantis

The Praying Mantis is a predatory insect, that is, it feeds on other insects or even small animals, which contributes to maintaining the biological balance in ecosystems. Their popular name is a reference to the position they adopt when they are at rest, with their forelegs bent, similar to the posture of a person in prayer.

Most species have a thin and elongated body and a color similar to dry leaves, branches and twigs, which facilitates camouflage and capture of their prey. Other characteristics that favor its predatory habit are the great mobility of its head and excellent vision. In addition, its forelegs (first pair of legs) feature a row of spines and are specialized for catching and holding prey.

Ladybugs

Ladybugs are beetles that most often have a rounded or oval shape. Many species are predators, and feed on insects considered agricultural pests, such as aphids, scale insects and whiteflies. Ladybugs can also feed on mites, eggs and young caterpillars of butterflies and moths. Thanks to this behavior, several species of ladybugs are considered beneficial insects, which can help in biological control.

Not all ladybugs are red with black spots. One of the species found in Brazil, for example, Cycloneda sanguinea, soon after emergence, has light yellow forewings and, over time, they darken until reaching a bright reddish hue.

Bees

Bees are important in the production of several foods, in addition to propolis and wax. Honey is its best-known product and when visiting the flowers to collect nectar, pollen and resin to make their products, the bees carry out the pollination.

Pollination guarantees the production of various foods for humans and animals, in addition to the survival of several native plants and the conservation of our forests and forests. There are more than 20 thousand species of bees in the world, only about 5 thousand species produce honey, but practically all of them do pollination.

Dragonflies

These fascinating, vibrantly colored insects can be considered terrestrial or aquatic, depending on their stage of life. Adults, terrestrial, lay eggs in water and, after hatching, the young forms of dragonfly, known as nymphs, can live from a few weeks to five years in this habitat, depending on the species. At this stage, the nymphs do not have wings and the legs are long to facilitate locomotion.

Both nymphs and adult dragonflies are voracious eaters of insects, tadpoles and even small fish, so they help to regulate the population of other insects and pests, and maintain the natural balance of the environment. Among the insects on which they feed, the Aedes aegypti mosquito can be highlighted, which transmits dengue, Zika, chikungunya and yellow fever.

Fábia de Mello Pereira, Bruno de Almeida Souza, Maria Teresa do Rêgo Lopes e Patrícia Maria Drumond

Researchers of Embrapa Meio-Norte


Technical Details

Stamp issue N. 22

Art: Luciana Fernandes - Embrapa

Alimentos e Territórios

Print system: offset + spot UV varnish + embossing

Paper: gummed chalky paper

Sheet with 24 stamps

Facial value: R$ 1,80 each stamp

Issue: 480,000 stamps (80,000 of each)

Design area: 39 x 21mm

Stamp dimensions: 44 x 26mm

Perforation: 11 x 11.5

Date of issue: December 3rd, 2021

Place of issue: Teresina/PI

Printing: Brazilian Mint


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