Cambridge Entomological Club, 1874

A Journal of Entomology

founded in 1874 by the Cambridge Entomological Club
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This is the CEC archive of Psyche through 2000. Psyche is now published by Hindawi Publishing.

C. T. Brues.
Vespid Wasps (Eumenes curvata) Attracted to Smoke.
Psyche 57(3):114-115, 1950.

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Biological Laboratories, Harvard University Smoke is not ordinarily attractive to insects, but certain flies of the family of Clythiidae have been noted by several entomologists to be strongly attracted by the smoke from burning weeds or even by chimney smoke. Kessel has recently published an account' of the American smoke flies which belong to the genus Microsanla. The genus is represented by several species in Europe, two in North America, and others in Australia, \New Zealand and equatorial Africa. From Kessel's account of his own observations made in California and his well documented summary of observations re- ported by others, it is evident that all the known species of Micro- sania throughout the world are irresistably attracted to smoke. Smoke from varied sources causes the flies to congregate, as the numerous observations relate to smouldering fires of vegetable debris, smouldering heath fires, forest fires, smouldering bonfires, and the dense smoke cloud from the chimney of a barbecue. Their occurrence on the tent of a camp in the woods is undoutedly a sim- ilar response to a camp-fire.
My own observations on the vespid wasp, Eumenes curvata Sauss~re,~ were made in the Southern Philippines, near Dumaguete, on Negros Island. This is a common wasp in the locality, frequently building its clay nests attached to walls covered with shingles made of the leaf sheaths of abaca or on bamboo slats on porches and in rooms open to continuous access from without. The flying wasps
were frequently noticed flying in the porch and adjoining room of a cottage where we were living, in the hills above Dumaguete at an elevation of about 1500 feet.
When we were smoking on the porch it was noted on many oc- casions that the wasps on the way back and forth to their nests hovered in lanes of drifting cigarette smoke. This is obviously very Vessel, E. M., American Smoke Flies. Wasmann Collector, vol. 7, pp. 23-30 (1947).
*This and the other identifications of Vespidae were kindly made by Dr. J. Bequaert.


UM] Braes~Wasps Attracted to Smoke 115
attractive and quickly sensed by them, either by sight or odor from- adjoining areas of clear air. Aside from certain small vespid wasps (Ropalidia) which nest in hollow bamboo railings, the large Vespa tropica phtlippinevtsis Sauss. which builds its carton nests under wide overhanging eaves, and certain itinerant scoliida in search of prey, this is the commonest wasp to be seen about housea. It is the only one which deliberately enters any zones of smoke that may be drifting about, as such fumes cause the others to dart quickly away when encountered during flight.
There can be no doubt that the Eumenes wasps, like the small Microsania flies are attracted by some material in smoke, quite possibly the creosote emanating from incompletely aerated fires. Tig. 1. Eumenes curvatu Saws. oil nest; specimen now in the collection of the Museum of Comparative Zoology.


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