Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Sugar alcohols have the potential as bee-safe baits for the common wasp.

Abstract

Background: Pest insects are often baited with poisoned feeding stimulants, the most common of which are sugars. However, sugars are attractive for most animal species, which makes it difficult to target only a specific pest insect species. Here, we assessed different sugar alcohols for their potential as more species-selective feeding stimulants for pest insects. Results: We tested the attractiveness of the sugar alcohols sorbitol, xylitol and erythritol with a capillary feeder assay in wasps (as potential pest insects, because introduced wasps are a pest in many regions) and bees (as non-target insects). For the common wasp (Vespula vulgaris), sorbitol and xylitol acted as nutritive feeding stimulants, and erythritol acted as a non-nutritive feeding stimulant. For the buff-tailed bumble bee (Bombus terrestris), sorbitol acted as a feeding stimulant, while for the honey bee (Apis mellifera), none of the sugar alcohols acted as feeding stimulant. Conclusion: The species-specific preferences for sugar alcohols suggest their potential as species-selective insect baits. The wasp-specific preference for xylitol suggests its potential as a bee-safe alternative to sugar-containing bait for controlling the common wasp.