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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Wapato, Washington » Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research » Research » Research Project #434204

Research Project: Chemical Attractants for Paper Wasps

Location: Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research

Project Number: 2092-22430-002-30-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jan 8, 2018
End Date: Jul 30, 2019

The goal of the project is to identify and develop chemical attractants useful to the management of pest populations of paper wasps in the genus Polistes. Chemical attractants to be investigated include feeding attractants and pheromones.

The general approach is the use of behavioral and electrophysiological studies combined with analytical chemistry techniques to isolate and identify chemical attractants. This is followed by the development of appropriate controlled release dispenser technology in combination with traps or baits in field trials to demonstrate application to problem situations. Laboratory studies using olfactometers and flight tunnels will determine chemically mediated behavior of wasps and provide assay methods to be used in the isolation of attractants in extracts and volatile collections. Isolation of attractants will be accomplished by solvent extraction of wasp glands, and by volatile collections accomplished with the passing of airflow over wasps, and select plants, and through an adsorbent trap. A combined gas chromatograph-electroantennal detector (GC-EAD) will be used to determine chemicals in extracts of glands and adsorbent traps that are detected by wasps. Extracts of glands and adsorbent traps will be further analyzed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry to provide preliminary structural determinations of peaks (chemicals) of interest. The identity of peaks of interest will be confirmed by the analysis of purchased or synthesized compounds, which will then be tested in a flight tunnel to confirm attractiveness to wasps. Field-trap experiments will be conducted of any compounds determined to be attractive in laboratory studies. Field studies will be conducted in Washington and in Florida, depending on the species of Polistes under investigation. Field studies may include assessments of combinations of compounds, as well as comparisons of a range of amounts of attractive compounds.