We studied attraction of Vespula germanica (F.) by conspecifics and food. By confining different numbers of wasps in containers, we showed that wasp attraction is density-dependent. Attraction to the containers persisted when the wasps were removed, suggesting that wasps leave an odor trace. Moreover, we demonstrated that conspecific attraction is not seasonal and that thorax extracts are attractive. Conversely, cat food bait attractiveness varied during the season. Third, we studied the predatory behavior of V. germanica wasps to determine whether the attraction elicited by conspecific wasps is due to cannibalistic behavior. Finally, we showed that attraction to food varied seasonally, unlike conspecific attraction. We believe these experiments are useful for improving control methods of this pest that severely affects northwestern Patagonia by the utilization of specific and stable toxic baits.
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Vol. 98 • No. 2