Wasp Eating Fly
The Mediterranean Fruit Fly is a pest of fruits. Males form swarms, called “mating leks” to attract female Med Flies. A female Med Fly can find a swarm of males more readily than a single male. The mating leks are held together by pheromones, chemicals that are released by the males. The pheromone forms a cloud surrounding the swarm. When an individual male leaves the pheromone cloud, it reverses course and reenters the cloud. Pheromone not only attracts Med Flies but also attract predators such as yellow jackets.* Foraging yellow jackets will orient to male pheromone odor to locate mating leks within the canopy. The yellow jackets will swoop in and captured males that are more focused on mating than avoiding predators.
Med Fly lekking peaks around mid morning. During the afternoon, yellow jackets may switch to visual hunting for female Med Flies that are focused on laying eggs on fruit. Yellow jackets can provide some reduction in Med Fly populations but not to a level that limits damage to an acceptible level.
*Hendrichs, J.; Katsoyannos, B.I.; Wornoayporn, V.; Hendrichs, M.A. 1994. Odour-mediated foraging by yellow jacket wasps: predation on leks of pheromone-calling Mediterranean fruit fly males. Oecologia. 99: 88-94.
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