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New species of spider wasp may use chemical signals from dead ants to protect nest

A new species of spider wasp, the ‘Bone-house Wasp,’ may use chemical cues from dead ants as a nest protection strategy, according to a recent study published July 2, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Michael Staab from University of Freiburg, Germany, and his colleagues from China and Germany.

Wasps use a wide variety of nest protection strategies, including digging holes or occupying pre-existing cavities such as in wood. Previous studies showed that the nests of cavity-nesting wasps contain several brood cells separated by thin walls of plant debris, resin, or soil. Once the females have finished constructing the nest, laying eggs, and providing food, they construct an outermost vestibular cell to close the nest. After construction, female wasps abandon the brood and do not care for their offspring anymore. Nest protection strategies play a central role in brood survival, and in this study, scientists interested in better understanding these strategies collected ~800 nests of cavity-nesting wasps with ~1900 brood cells belonging to 18 species in South-East China.

The scientists found a nesting behavior previously unknown in the entire animal kingdom: in over 70 nests they found an outer vestibular cell filled with dead ants. The species constructing these ant-filled vestibular cell was so far unknown to science and was described in the same study as the ‘Bone-house Wasp’ (Deuteragenia ossarium), after graveyard bone-houses or ossuaries. The scientists also found lower parasitism rates in “Bone-house” nests than in nests of similar cavity-nesting wasps. The authors suggest that D. ossarium nests are less vulnerable to natural enemies, potentially supporting the outer cell’s role in defense, which most likely involves chemical cues emanating from the dead ants used as nest-building material.

Dr. Staab added, “Our discovery demonstrates in an impressive way, what fascinating strategies of offspring-protection have evolved in the animal kingdom.”

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The above story is based on materials provided by PLOS. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

EPA registration for Captiva™ controls thrips and spider mites

EPA registration for Captiva™ controls thrips and spider mites

Gowan Company, LLC is very pleased to announce that its Captiva™, a natural repellent bio-insecticide, has received federal registration from the EPA. Captiva™ controls thrips and spider mites and will be sold into a wide variety of speciality crop segments.

This registration represents a significant milestone as Captiva™ is the first product from Gowan’s distribution partnership pipeline with Ecoflora Agro to receive EPA registration. It joins Gowan’s growing biorational portfolio aimed to help growers in controlling crop-damaging pests, while also providing effective solutions to the increasing crop production challenges like residue management, labour and harvest flexibility, and resistance management.

“We are thrilled to receive registration and are eager to deliver US growers a product that we believe is one of the best in its class,” stated Dallas Piscopo, Biorational Product Manager.

Captiva™ Insect Repellant / Insecticide is currently being registered in individual states in preparation for the 2014/2015 growing season.

Gowan Company, based in Yuma, Arizona, USA, is a family-owned registrant and marketer of crop protection products and champions technology for agriculture and horticulture through innovative product development, public advocacy and quality production. Learn more at

Ecoflora Agro is a Colombian company resulting from the Joint Venture formed by the founders of Ecoflora SAS and Gowan Company, LLC. Ecoflora Agro is a leader and a pioneer in the development of innovative solutions developed from plant extracts for the sustainable and safe protection of crops.

For more information:
Dallas Piscopo
[email protected]

Publication date: 6/27/2014