The effect of different conspecific male sex pheromone component ratios on the behavior of the female greater wax moth, Galleria mellonella, L., (Lepidoptera: pyralidae)
The greater wax moth (GWM), Galleria mellonella (L.) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), is a serious economic pest of the beekeeping industry. Efforts to develop a trapping system using male-produced sex pheromones have not been successful, in part because the different vapour pressures of wing-gland volatiles have not been considered. The objectives of the current research were to develop a synthetic lure with volatile characteristics similar to those of published pheromone blends in an effort to determine a biologically relevant range of component ratios. The release ratio of two major aldehyde volatiles, 1-undecanal (C11:AL) and 1-nonanal (C9:AL), from polyethylene tubes were characterized for various formulated blends. The minor alcohols 1-undecanol (C11:OH) and 1-nonanol (C9:OH) were incorporated into select blends. The effect of volatile component ratios on the behaviour of the female GWM was assessed in windless arena bioassays. The results indicate GWM females are attracted to a wide range of volatile mixtures, indicative of a broadly tuned response specificity. However, only blends releasing 4:1 ratios of C11:AL to C9:AL in the presence of both minor alcohols or with a 1:4 output of C11:AL to C9:AL induced close range behaviours such as searching or circling the surface of the holding cage for periods of time consistent with those observed towards tethered males.