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Parasitic Wasp Facts
Beneficial to gardeners and farmers, these tiny, delicate insects feast on aphids, caterpillars, beetles, scale, and flies. These miniscule wasps are attracted to pollen and nectar. These insects can truly benefit your organic garden.
The female parasitic wasp will paralyze an adult insect or larva and place its eggs inside. Upon hatching the parasitic wasp larvae will feed on the host insect.
So... What's a Parasitic Wasp?
Parasitic wasps are tiny wasps that are very beneficial to gardeners and farmers. They attack, paralyze and kill many kinds of insect pests. Adults are varied in their coloring, but larvae are usually cream colored.
Parasitic wasps are very prolific and can reproduce quickly, allowing for large populations which are very helpful in controlling insect pest infestations.
These wasps do not sting like other wasps, and most are so tiny, they can go completely unnoticed in your garden!
Prey of the Parasitic Wasp
These tiny, delicate insects feast on aphids, caterpillars, beetles, scale, and flies.
Parasitic wasps deposit their eggs inside an adult or larval insect and when the eggs hatch, the offspring will feed on the paralyzed host insect resulting in the host's death (if it did not die when it was paralyzed by the wasp).
Parasitic Wasp Habitat
Parasitic wasps can be found in fields and gardens, particularly those with nectar and pollen producing plants which attract the wasps.
Sometimes in the fall they may be found inside of homes, brought in inside of a parasitized insect when firewood is carried into the home.
Parasitic wasps help farmers and gardeners in naturally controlling crops by killing those insects that are harmful to the crops. By doing so, these beneficial insects help reduce the insect pest populations and thereby help growers improve their field and garden produce.
They are sometimes introduced to an area because of this beneficial quality. They can be purchased from commercial growers to combat infestations of insect pests.
They are often used in combination with other insect control methods such as environmental controls and organic controls (although you must be careful not to spray anything that would wipe out the parasitic wasps while killing the insect pest).
Images courtesy of Oklahoma State University and Forestry Images.
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