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Mating Behavior, Sex Pheromone Responses, and Radiation Sterilization of the Greater Wax Moth (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae)

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Abstract:

Laboratory and field studies of mating behavior, sex pheromone responses, and radiation sterilization were conducted with Galleria mellonella (L.). Observations of the premating behavior of the moths in the wind tunnel indicated that stationary calling males produce 0.5- to 1-sec bursts of wing fanning and are then closely approached by attracted females. Sperm was transferred to the spermathaeca of females without transfer of a spermatophore in 32% of the matings. Only one type of sperm was found in mated females. Weight loss studies showed that hollow polyethylene caps containing 0.2 ml of the pheromone (7:3 ratio of nonanal-undecanal) had a half-life of 18 days, with an emission rate of ca. 4.7 mg/day (27°C). Wind tunnel tests indicated that polyethylene caps containing either a 1:1 or 7:3 ratio of components were as effective as three male moths used as bait in delta traps for catching released virgin female moths (ca. 50% recovery of females within 48 h). However, captures of native female wax moths in an apiary, using traps baited with the pheromone, indicated that the combination was not effective. Subsequent recoveries of laboratory females sterilized by 20 krad of gamma radiation and released in the apiary were 1 and 2%. Releases of laboratory females into greenhouses (3 by 4 m) containing traps baited with either three live males or pheromone baits indicated that males were significantly more attractive than the pheromone baits (16.5% vs. 4.2% recovery, respectively). These results indicate that the pheromone bait tested is not attractive beyond a few meters.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 1983

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  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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