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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Chemical Attractants for Trapping and Baiting Polistes
2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Develop management tools and strategies for wasp swarms at air traffic control towers.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Optimize chemical attractants, identify pheromones, and determine type, density, and location of traps to remove wasps.


3.Progress Report:

The work summarized in this progress report relates to objective number 3 in the Project Plan for 001-00D: 3. Discover and develop chemical attractants for codling moth, fruit flies, pear psylla, and other insect pests of temperate tree fruits and their natural enemies.

Large numbers of paper wasps of interest were captured in traps baited with a combination of a wine and a vinegar. Subsequent work aimed to determine which chemicals in these materials are responsible for that attraction, so that a synthetic lure may be produced that mimics the original material. A laboratory olfactometer assay was used to determine responses of male and female Polistes bellicosus and Polistes metricus to wine, vinegar, ethanol, and acetic acid. A combination gas chromatograph and electroantennal detector (EAD) was used to determine which volatile compounds from a wine a vinegar can be detected by the antennae of the wasps. Two field experiments were conducted to evaluate wasp attraction (captured in traps) to wine, vinegar, and sets of volatile chemicals from these materials. It was determined that the original response of wasps to wine and vinegar is due principally to chemicals in the wine (not the vinegar), including ethanol. Wasps could be trapped with a set of EAD-active wine chemicals, but more were trapped with wine indicating that more work needs to be done to optimize the lure. This problem could be due to chemicals that are detected by the antenna but are deterrent, and to an inadequate formulation for ethanol in traps. Subsequent testing is planned to evaluate the roles of possible deterrents in chemical blends tested, and to provide a more stable controlled release system for testing of the wine chemicals in the field.


Last Modified: 11/22/2014
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