There are few floral volatiles of compounds that have been properly assessed for attracting pollinators. The intense plant odour of Elsholtzia rugulosa (Lamiaceae) to humans may be attributed to the presence of high concentrations of β‐caryophyllene. In a previous study, Zhang, Yang, and Zhang (Scientific Reports, 6, 2016a, 276161) speculated that the presence of β‐caryophyllene attracts pollinators (e.g., honey bees) to its flowers, an assumption that was assessed through the exploration of the functional significance of specific floral volatile compounds and the evaluation of their effects on the behaviour of Apis cerana (Asian honey bees; a known pollinator) and two non‐pollinators, a hornet (Vespa velutina) and a bumblebee (Bombus sp.). The results from these behavioural experiments indicated that both β‐caryophyllene and β‐elemene (both naturally found in flowers of E. rugulosa) were individually attractive to the Asian honey bees. Moreover, the combination of the two was more effective than either of them separately. In contrast, neither compound, nor a blend of the two at different concentrations, was attractive to the hornet and bumblebee species. These results demonstrate that β‐caryophyllene and β‐elemene play a key signalling role in attracting Asian honey bees to E. rugulosa.
Journal of Applied Entomology – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
Keywords: ; ; ; ;
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