Journal of Chemical Education
Insects use chemicals in many ways; for example, they synthesize compounds used to build their nests, they synthesize foods for their young; and they communicate by means of chemical signals (pheromones). Many locate their food plants and feed only when stimulated by specific chemicals in the plants; some store (or sequester) toxins produced by their food plants to be used in their own self-defense; and many insects manufacture venoms or repellent substances to deter predators. Of particular economic relevance to man are the regulation of social behavior by pheromones in honey bees and termites; the production of silk and honey; the venoms of bees, wasps, and ants; feeding responses of pests and beneficial insects to chemicals in crop plants; and the use of synthetic insect sex attractants to disrupt the breeding cycles of pest species. This article outlines some of the ways that chemicals play a role in the insect world (see Fig. 1).
Batra, Suzanne W.T., "Polyester-Making Bees and Other Innovative Insect Chemists" (1985). Ba. Paper 180.
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