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     Volume 10 |Issue 25 | July 01, 2011 |


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Fatal Pheromones


Flies are a menace to mango gardens in Chapainawabganj, says a news report, where mango groves are in abundance, cultivators are using a novel way to keep the flies away. They are using sex pheromones to trap male flies.

This is how it works. In a plastic bucket or bottle full of soap water you have a small opening for the flies to come in. Above is an innocent looking pouch filled with female fly pheromones that have the smell female flies give off before they are about to mate. This smell drives the males wild and compels them to go through the openings into the buckets where they hit their heads, get the buzz of their life, fall into the soapy water -and die.

Many human males will vouch that this sounds like how they ended up getting married.

Jokes apart, many male victims (the human kind) have fallen prey to wily females who use what may well be their pheromones (we call it sexiness) to trap men into dangerous, tragic, situations. From criminals to cops - straight men of all shapes and colour seem to be rendered utterly helpless by feminine charm - at least that's what they show us in the movies.

Gullible men have been known to be stripped off of all their belongings -clothes (the first things to go), bank balance, land, condominiums, stocks, bonds even pets - all because of the irresistibility of some femme fatale. Now it seems the pheromones females give off have a lot to do with it. Of course curvy figures, nice hair, good skin and fluttering eye-lashes are a help.

But the perfume industry strongly endorses the power of pheromones which is why they even come up with fragrances containing these fatal attracters. Hence the ads that show unimpressive, scrawny young men with zero sex appeal being smothered by swarms of skimpily clad, attractive women, after he has sprayed himself with some deliciously fragrant body spray. Androstenol, they say, is a social pheromone that acts as an icebreaker and gets women wearing it chatty and relaxed even with strangers. Androsterone gives the wearer an aura of masculinity, security and reliability -fatally attractive to any sane female.

It is nevertheless, hard to say how much of this fatal attraction is caused by pure pheromones or just a nice smell and the seductiveness of the advertisements but the notion that men and women give off odours that attract each other, is indeed a very popular one.

Human females, in fact, seem to be just as susceptible to the smells of males. Which woman cannot appreciate the sheer pleasure of passing by a male, who, whatever he looks like, smells clean, lemony with a touch of musk? On the other hand most women are utterly repulsed by males who smell bad, no matter how potent the pheromones.

Coming back to Chapainawabganj (with a thud) it is not known from the news report whether the same technique - a pouch of concentrated pheromones (male in this case) and a bucket of soapy water – would produce similar consequences for female flies. After all, one sees no reason why the female flies would not be swarming towards the delectable mangoes just as enthusiastically. Perhaps they were busy laying some eggs. Perhaps they were just waiting for their men folk.

Perhaps they're just smarter.

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