Agricultural Benefits of the Parasitic Wasp

19 Mar

A Parasitic Wasp is actually, or should actually be called a Parasitoid, as it does not feed on its’ host for life.  A parisitoid feeds on its’ host, then kills it!  Now this is probably gross to some (and yes this post will most likely give me a nightmare) but it’s kinda cool too, when ya think about it.  And yes, it’s true they ARE helpful to the agricultural world, which makes for a double cool thumbs up from me.

The parasitic wasp will tap into the very little buggers that, well, annoy us and cause great distress in our rainbows, butterflies and greener pastures factor.

There are many varieties of parasitic wasps but they all provide a benefit in one form or another.  They are often mis-identified as winged ants or stinging wasps.  However…

in contrast, unless mishandled they will not sting you in any way.  They’re generally an outdoor pest but upon occasion are found indoors.  They are nocturnal and attracted to white light.

It is recommended that you use a “yellow” light that is less appealing to them.  And, use the old adage of leave them alone and they’ll leave you alone.  If you find one indoors, they are easily contained so that they can be relocated back outdoors.

Given the benefit of this parisitoid, other possibilities for fly reduction arise.  Introducing the parasitic wasp pupae to the environment around the barn, paddock and pasture will reduce the fly population greatly.

Once the pupae mature to adult, they feed on fly larvae.  Parasitic wasp(s) occur naturally, but introducing the wasp pupae will aid in increasing the wasp population.

Wasps at maturity are tiny and will range in size from 1/32″ – 1/16″.  They also come in a variety of colors.  However, they DO NOT swarm or nest, thus making them virtually unnoticeable.  As I stated before they are nocturnal, going to work for you after dark.  They have no negative impact on the environment either.  The best benefit (besides getting rid of the annoying little buggers they feast on) they cause NO irritation or aggravation to you or your horses or other livestock.  (Ok, I’m thinking win/win so far! :D)

This method costs less than $20.00 per shipment.  The introduction of the pupae into your environment should be performed every 3 weeks.  This method will effectively protect 5 horses.

Now for every up there is a down!  So for all this good, UNFORTUNATELY, they do NOTHING for mosquitos, gnats or midges.  There is a certain amount of pre-planning required and strict management must be maintained throughout the fly season.  Also, you can’t control your neighbor’s fly management!  So, in short, if your neighbors have fly management issues, your attempt at maintaining the fly population will be large and your results will be minimal.  (Hmm, maybe not so win/win after all :()

Anyway, here is how to do the pre-plan and maintain wasp management throughout the fly season if you still want to take this route.

  1. Get out the calendar.  Determine when fly season starts in your area.
  2. Choose a company that will set you up on a regular shipment schedule (every 3 weeks) throughout the season.
  3. Stop using pesticides around your barn, paddock, pasture or other nearby plant life.
  4. Introduce the wasp pupae in areas around where flies reproduce.  BUT, not where horse(s) or other animals can step on the eggs.


Wasp pupae ONLY feed on fly larvae.  They WILL NOT feed on the adult fly.  Timing of this method is crucial to the effectiveness of the protection desired.


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3 responses to “Agricultural Benefits of the Parasitic Wasp

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    January 30, 2013 at 12:26 pm

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    October 7, 2016 at 6:26 pm

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