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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Wapato, Washington » Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research » Research » Research Project #443450

Research Project: Improved Lure Development and Models to Aid in Eradication of Northern Giant Hornet

Location: Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research

Project Number: 2092-22430-003-058-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Oct 1, 2023
End Date: Jun 30, 2024

The overall goal of our project is to leverage existing and future data on Northern giant hornet population dynamics and nest locations to create more refined habitat suitability models as well as a hornet phenology model. These models will be used to guide monitoring and eradication efforts in the US and internationally will aid in identifying key temporal windows when hornets are most likely to be found (and when damage to beehives may occur), and guide deployment of lures to locations expected to have the highest rates of hornet activity.

Physiological testing. Compounds that were used to make lures in previous years will be screened for antennal activity using gas chromatography coupled with an electroantennogram detector (GC-EAD). This technique is useful for analyzing volatile substances with attractant activity to insects, such as pheromones and food odors by exposing the insect antenna to the odor while it is hooked up to an electrode. We will initially focus on the 11 compounds included in the successful pheromone lure generated by Dr. Serrano. Antennal activity will be measured from both worker and male hornets since the previously mentioned lure could attract both types of hornets. Data gathered from GC-EAD analyses will inform us if we need to include all 11 of the compounds that were used to make the pheromone lure, or if only some compounds are required. This would expedite manufacturing time and reduce costs considerably. In addition, if we find differences between the antennal responses of workers and males, then we have the potential to develop lures that would specifically attract males and workers separately. Once pheromones are analyzed, we will also test other compounds previously used to trap hornets such as honey bee pheromone. Because other compounds were unsuccessful in trapping hornets, GC-EAD will inform us whether there were issues in lure manufacturing (e.g., device, release rates, ratios, etc.) or if the hornets do not have receptors for particular compounds. If the former is an issue, we could develop additional lures that could trap hornets based on the antennally-active compounds.