Submitted to: Journal of British Columbia Entomological Society
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/30/2008
Publication Date: 12/10/2008
Citation: Mackenzie, J.K., Landolt, P.J., Zack, R.S. 2008. Sex attraction in polistes dominulus demonstrated using olfactometers and morphological source extracts. Journal of British Columbia Entomological Society 105:35-43. Interpretive Summary: New methods and approaches are needed to control insect pests of fruit crops, and stinging wasps can be a hazard to pickers when fruit is ripe. Researchers at the USDA-ARS laboratory in Wapato, Washington, collaborating with researchers in the Department of Entomology, Washington State University, Pullman, WA studied the sexual behavior of the European paper wasp, in order to determine if an attractive sex pheromone is used by this wasp as a means of locating potential mates. These studies revealed female attraction to males, and male marking behavior in response to both females and males. Possible sources of a sex pheromone based on these results are the mandibular glands, sternal glands and legs of males, and the female legs. These findings provide opportunities to isolate and identify sex pheromones that may be useful as lures in traps for this invasive wasp that has recently become very abundant in eastern Washington State.
Technical Abstract: Bioassays, to test for attraction, between and within gender of Polistes dominulus were performed using Y-tube and parallel tube olfactometers. In the Y-tube olfactometer, unmated females turned more often into an airstream with male odor than the control; males more frequently chose the control over the unmated female odor. Choices made between the treatment and control were not different when males and females were presented with odor from the same gender. In the parallel tube olfactometer, the rate of movement of females upwind into male odor was faster than to the control, while movement rates in males toward female odor and the control were not statistically different. Morphological sources of potential sex attractants were tested in arena bioassays. Males rubbed their mandibles and gaster on the substrate when treated with extracts of unmated female or male tagmata, female or male legs, and the male seventh gastral sternite. Females did not show any significant behavioral responses to male or female extracts compared to a blank.