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Losing the Arms Race: Greater Wax Moths Sense but Ignore Bee Alarm Pheromones

1
CAS Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650000, China
2
College of Life Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
3
College of Plant Protection, Anhui Agricultural University, Hefei 230036, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Insects 2019, 10(3), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects10030081
Received: 24 January 2019 / Revised: 9 March 2019 / Accepted: 20 March 2019 / Published: 23 March 2019
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Abstract

The greater wax moth, Galleria mellonella L., is one of main pests of honeybees. The larvae burrow into the wax, damaging the bee comb and degenerating bee products, but also causes severe effects like driving the whole colony to abscond. In the present study, we used electroantennograms, a Y maze, and an oviposition site choice bioassay to test whether the greater wax moth can eavesdrop on bee alarm pheromones (isopentyl acetate, benzyl acetate, octyl acetate, and 2-heptanone), to target the bee colony, or if the bee alarm pheromones would affect their preference of an oviposition site. The results revealed that the greater wax moth showed a strong electroantennogram response to these four compounds of bee alarm pheromones even in a low concentration (100 ng/μL), while they showed the highest response to octyl acetate compared to the other three main bee alarm components (isopentyl acetate, benzyl acetate, and 2-heptanone). However, the greater wax moth behavioral results showed no significant preference or avoidance to these four bee alarm pheromones. These results indicate that bees are currently losing the arms race since the greater wax moth can sense bee alarm pheromones, however, these alarm pheromones are ignored by the greater wax moth. View Full-Text
Keywords: electroantennogram; Galleria mellonella; oviposition site preference; suitable habitat hypothesis; alarm pheromones electroantennogram; Galleria mellonella; oviposition site preference; suitable habitat hypothesis; alarm pheromones
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Li, Y.; Jiang, X.; Wang, Z.; Zhang, J.; Klett, K.; Mehmood, S.; Qu, Y.; Tan, K. Losing the Arms Race: Greater Wax Moths Sense but Ignore Bee Alarm Pheromones. Insects 2019, 10, 81.

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