Cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) serve two fundamental functions in insects: protection against desiccation and chemical signalling. How the interaction of genes shapes CHC profiles, which are essential for insect survival, adaptation and reproductive success, is still poorly understood. Here we investigate the genetic and genomic basis of CHC biosynthesis and variation in parasitoid wasps of the genus <i>Nasonia</i>. We mapped 91 quantitative trait loci (QTL) explaining the variation of a total of 43 CHCs in F<sub>2</sub> hybrid males from interspecific crosses between three <i>Nasonia</i> species. To identify candidate genes, we localized orthologues of CHC biosynthesis-related genes in the <i>Nasonia</i> genomes. We discovered multiple genomic regions where the location of QTL coincides with the location of CHC biosynthesis-related candidate genes. Most conspicuously, on a region close to the centromere of chromosome 1, multiple CHC biosynthesis-related candidate genes co-localize with several QTL explaining variation in methyl-branched alkanes. The genetic underpinnings behind this compound class are not well understood so far, despite their high potential for encoding chemical information as well as their prevalence in hymenopteran CHC profiles. Our study considerably extends our knowledge on the genetic architecture governing this important compound class, establishing a model for methyl-branched alkane genetics in the Hymenoptera in general.