In all the Hymenoptera they investigated, cuticular hydrocarbons suppressed development of the reproductive systems and the active hydrocarbons were structurally similar. Additionally, they collected reports of queen substance and cuticular hydrocarbons in other Hymenoptera and found structural similarities in cuticular hydrocarbons throughout the Hymenoptera in both social and asocial species.
Sociality has evolved multiple times in the Hymenoptera. This new evidence suggests that the chemicals used for reproductive suppression evolved from cuticular hydrocarbons in use for communications. Cuticular hydrocarbons are a complex mixture of chemicals. Advances in their analysis and synthesis are leading to a better understanding of communication in social insects.