Like Bugs Bunny dressing up like a lady to trick Elmer Fudd, scientists have discovered that sex can be used to lure giant invasive hornets into traps.
The researchers, who published their findings in the journal Current Biology, created a synthetic sex pheromone to attract the male Vespa mandarinia — known more sensationally as "murder hornets" — and capture them in traps that also contain a fake female hornet.
"We were able to isolate the major components of the female sex pheromone, a odor blend that is highly attractive to males who compete to mate with virgin queens," James Nieh, an entomologist at the University of California at San Diego and coauthor of the paper, told Gizmodo.
"When these components or their blend was tested in sticky traps, they captured thousands of males," he added.
Birds and Bees
The team hopes their research can be used to combat the invasive species, which preys on endangered bee species throughout North America. In fact, the hornets wreak havoc on $100 million worth of bee-pollinated crops each year, CNN reports.
Luckily, the chemicals are widely available throughout the US, so it should be fairly easy for farmers and anyone else who doesn’t want horrifying hornets attacking their bees to replicate the traps.
That said, it’s not a perfect system to combat the invasive species. Allen Gibbs, professor of life sciences at the University of Nevada, told CNN that it might just attract male hornets that have already mated — thus leaving the impregnated female hornet "free to fly off and start a new colony."
So yeah, these hornets are completely willing to risk their lives for a booty call — which, honestly, might show that they're not so different from some humans.
More on sex, baby: Scientists Say We Really Have to Talk About Boning in Space