Alyokhin, A., J. Makatiani, and K. Takasu. 2010. Insecticide odour interference with food-searching behaviour of Microplitis croceipes (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) in a laboratory arena. Biocontrol Science and Technology 20: 317-329.

Response to odours plays an important role in resource location by natural enemies, particularly by parasitoid wasps. While a considerable research effort has been dedicated to studying the effects of insecticide intoxication on natural enemy search behaviour, it is yet unknown if the odours themselves interfere with distant chemoreception. We investigated this issue using the food-searching behaviour of Microplitis croceipes (Cresson)(Hymenoptera: Braconidae) in laboratory arenas as a model system. Odours of imidacloprid (Genesis?), spinosad (Entrust?), esfenvalerate (Asana?), methamidophos (Monitor?), and vanilla were tested for their ability to interfere with wasp response to the odour of honey. The wasps did not contact the chemicals. Honey odour was generally effective in triggering food-searching behaviour in both honey-fed (and thus conditioned to associate honey odour with food) and unfed, na?ve wasps. Mixing honey with imidacloprid and spinosad did not affect wasp responses. The remaining compounds (esfenvalerate, methamidophos, and vanilla) significantly reduced the proportion of positively responding fed wasps, but only methamidophos had such an effect on the unfed wasps. Negative methamidophos effects became completely reversed when wasps were forced to feed on honey in the presence of methamidophos odour. Our results suggest that odours and provision of food may potentially be used to keep beneficial natural enemies away from insecticide-treated areas.