Pests and Parasites

A very effective agent of biological pest control, this tiny wasp in our backyard is preparing to lay an egg on (or in) the little green aphid.. When the egg hatches, it will live inside the aphid, munching happily away, until it emerges from the hollowed-out host as an adult wasp. The wasp is about the size of a fruit fly or smaller. The light colored husk next to the green aphid is another aphid that has already been parasitized.  Like the movie “Alien”.  But real!

There are many species of wasp that keep insect “pests” (meaning those that people don’t like) under control.  A very good reason not to bomb yards with insecticides.  You might get a mosquito-free evening, but it kills everything—including the good stuff.

Parasitic wasp aphid

Parasitic wasp prepares to lay egg on aphid

Below is another wasp trying to pass on the family genes, surrounded by parasitized aphids that are feeding the next generation of parasites.

Wasp apid parasitism

Wasp surrounded by parasitized aphids

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