Flowers with small florets, including most herbs and carrot family cousins, are ideal for these small, fast-moving wasps. When they’re ready to pupate, the braconid wasp larvae chew their way out of their host, the unlucky hornworm, and spin silk cocoons on the caterpillar’s exoskeleton. Braconid wasps lay eggs inside the aphids, where the immature larvae kill the aphids by feeding on their tissues. They generally don’t unless trapped or mishandled. Food and Habitat: Flower nectar and pollen are major energy sources for braconid wasps. A female braconid wasp can lay up to 200 eggs a day in warm summer weather. As the wasp larvae develop and feed inside the caterpillar. Different species attack their insect hosts during different stages of development, as eggs, larvae, pupae, or adults. Braconid females can use the ovipositor, the tube through which eggs are laid, to sting. The female braconid wasp deposits her eggs inside the hornworm caterpillar's body. The sting is considered medically harmless. When they're ready to pupate, the braconid wasp larvae chew their way out of their host, and spin silk cocoons on the caterpillar's exoskeleton. The parasitized hornworm may keep right on eating your vegetables while it … In one type, the adult female braconid wasp lays eggs in a likely host. A female braconid wasp can lay up to 200 eggs a day in warm summer weather. Braconids lay eggs on numerous pest species, such as caterpillars (including cabbage worms and tomato hornworms), aphids, flies, beetle larvae, leaf miners and some true bugs. They may become internal or external parasites. Braconid wasps that kill hornworms are larval parasitoids. Braconid wasps carry the genes of polydnaviruses within their bodies. The virus replicates within the braconid wasp eggs as they develop within the mother. The tiny adult wasps emerge from these cocoons a short time later. The adult female wasp uses her ovipositor to lay eggs just under the skin of the hornworm. The virus doesn't harm the wasp, but when the egg is deposited into a host insect, the polydnavirus is activated. Food and Habitat: Flower nectar and pollen are major energy sources for braconid wasps. The eggs hatch and the larvae then eat their way out of the insect, where they form pupae (pictured at left) and wait to hatch into adults. Flowers with small florets, including most herbs and carrot family cousins, are ideal for these small, fast-moving wasps.
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