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New Lure Could Take the Sting Out of Some Wasps.

An ARS entomologist has devised the first effective lure for the German yellowjacket, golden paper wasp, European hornet, and other yellowjackets. Commercial traps could be available in about a year. Yellowjackets and wasps are occasional nuisances for most people, but they represent an occupational hazard for fruit orchard workers during the picking season. Besides hurting, the stings can cause potentially dangerous allergic reactions. The new attractant may provide a way to monitor and control the insects. It uses compounds that bacteria and fungi make as byproducts of sugar consumption. ARS has applied for patent protection. Other baits -- made with sugar or meat -- have drawbacks. Sugary baits attract beneficial species, such as honey bees. As for meat, it rots too quickly to be practical in a lure. Of 17 yellowjacket species in the United States, 5 are significant, aggressive pests. The new lure is the first to attract most of them, including the German yellowjacket. It is also the first chemical lure to attract paper wasps. The scientist and Sterling International, Inc., of Veradale, Washington, are collaborating to develop a delivery system. The work is being carried out through a cooperative research and development agreement.

Peter J. Landolt, USDA-ARS Yakima Agricultural Research Laboratory, Wapato, Washington; phone (509) 454-6551, e-mail
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Author:Landolt, Peter J.
Publication:Agricultural Research
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 1999
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