1 Tahrcountry Musings: Environmentally Responsible Traps for Pest Hornets are Round the Corner

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Environmentally Responsible Traps for Pest Hornets are Round the Corner

Hornets are a nuisance. They raid beehives and ravages fruit crops. This makes them a serious pest to man. Thanks to new research, a way out is round the corner. The cue comes from nature itself. Read on.

Orchids usually have nothing of value to offer their pollinators. To overcome this drawback nature has devised ingenious ways. Orchids lure the pollinators with the scents of more rewarding flowers or potential mates.

Scientists have now discovered that a species of orchid, which lives on the Chinese island of Hainan, Dendrobium sinense, fools its hornet pollinator (Vespa bicolor) by issuing a chemical that honeybees use to send an alarm. Hornets capture honeybees to serve as food for their larvae. The deception by the dendrobium by secreting this particular chemical makes the hornets pounce on orchid flowers as though they were attacking prey. Result is pollination by proxy.

Scientists have identified the chemical responsible for this aggressive behavior by the hornets. It is Z-11-eicosen-1-ol. The chemical is a major compound of honeybees' alarm pheromone. Here comes the clue for making an environmentally responsible trap for Pest Hornets. Details of the study have been published online on August 6th in Current Biology.

Here is yet another reason for conserving our biodiversity. For many of our headaches there are remedies in nature. We do not have to run after toxic chemicals. Humans are concerned about short term gains only and plunder the nature without blinking an eyelid. We tend to forget the big picture in nature. It is high time we realized our follies and start paying more attention to holistic conservation.

1 comment:

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