The expression of chemosensory proteins (CSPs) and odorant-binding proteins (OBPs) in individuals of different castes and ages have been monitored in three species of social hymenopterans, Polistes dominulus (Hymenoptera, Vespidae), Vespa crabro (Hymenoptera, Vespidae) and Apis mellifera (Hymenoptera, Apidae), using PCR with specific primers and polyclonal antibodies. In the paper wasp P. dominulus, OBP is equally expressed in antennae, wings and legs of all castes and ages, while CSP is often specifically present in antennae and in some cases also in legs. In the vespine species V. crabro CSP is antennal specific, while OBP is also expressed in legs and wings. The three CSPs and the five OBPs of A. mellifera show a complex pattern of expression, where both classes of proteins include members specifically expressed in antennae and others present in other parts of the body. These data indicate that at least in some hymenopteran species CSPs are specifically expressed in antennae and could perform roles in chemosensory perception so far assigned only to OBPs.