[en] area marking ; overwintering behaviour ; invasive species ; Coccinellidae ; Contact pheromones
[en] The multicoloured Asian ladybeetles, Harmonia axyridis (Pallas), form large aggregations inside dwellings to survive cold winters, causing annoyances to householders from their number and sometimes the induction of allergic reactions. Migratory flight and macrosite choice of this species is well documented. H. axyridis shows a hypsotactic behaviour and a clear preference for contrasting visual elements. However, how the microsite is selected remains undocumented, although a better understanding of the implicated factors could lead to the development of new control methods for this pest.
In this work, we have hypothesized that non-volatile compounds are involved in the microsite choice and the aggregation process of this beetle. Long chain hydrocarbons were identified inside aggregation sites, comprising saturated and unsaturated homologues. An aggregation bioassay was then conducted on overwintering individuals, highlighting the retention capacity of the previously cited compounds on the tested ladybeetles. Additional investigations have shown that H. axyridis males and females, originating from overwintering sites, deposit a similar blend of molecules while walking. A Y-shaped tube assay revealed that this blend is used by male and female congeners as cue, allowing individuals to orientate towards the treated side of the olfactometer. These results suggest the use of two different blends of long chain hydrocarbons by H. axyridis during its aggregative period, the first one to lead conspecifics towards aggregation sites (microsites) and the second to ensure the cohesion of the aggregation. These findings support the potential use of these blends, in association with volatiles, in the design of traps in order to control infestations of this species in dwellings.
Fonds pour la formation à la Recherche dans l'Industrie et dans l'Agriculture (Communauté française de Belgique) - FRIA