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Paper wasps

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Gasteruptid Wasp

Gasteruptid Wasp a very small, delicate black wasp with a long, slender abdomen, sometimes with varying amounts of red markings. The head is set on a long “neck,” that connects the head to the thorax. The hind tibia are swollen. These two characteristics separate it from Ichneumon Wasps. Females have a long ovipositor which is about the same length as the wasp. The size of the female is approximately 1 1/2 inches with the ovipositor. Males look like females without the ovipositor.


gasteruptid wasp

Gasteruptid Wasp


Females lay eggs inside the cells of solitary bees and wasps nesting in plant stems or wood. The ovipositor is not used for drilling into wood as in some species of parasitic wasps such as Ichneumons and Horntails. There is considerable difference among species in this genus in the method of parasitism with the larva of some eating the host egg, others consuming the host larva and some eating the host food source.


Adult Gasteruption wasp have been recorded as visiting a wide range of flowers from many species and families..


gasteruptid wasp

Gasteruptid Wasp Female

Life Cycle: Different species of Gasteruption wasps deposit their eggs in proximity to the host egg, with the exact positioning depending on the species. Some species are ectoparasitic, in that they lay their eggs on the egg of the host bee or wasp. Other species lay their eggs on the store of honey just in front of the host egg, on the wall of the cell in front of the food store, or on the outer surface of the cell lining and actually oviposits onto the mature host larva.


There are considerable differences among species in the exact method of parasitism, with the larvae of some species consuming the host egg and others consuming the host larvae. For example, shortly after hatching, the larvae of G. caudatum and G. pyrenaicus consume the host egg . The second instar larvae of these two species then feed on the food store of the host bee. In some cases the larva completes its development by consuming the food store in more than one cell


if the partitions are weak or brittle, the larva may invade surrounding cells where it consumes both bee larvae and food stores. In comparison, the larva of G. assectator consumes a mature Hylaeus larva. it then invades a second cell and consumes that larva also.


Damage: Wasps can be found on flowers, particularly from goldenrod in late fall. Paper wasp nests can be dislodged from eaves using sprays of high pressure water from a good distance, taking precautions not to allow wasps to attack nearby people or pets. Wasps will eventually abandon the nest.


Paper wasp Nest

gasteruptid wasp Nest

controls: Commercial wasp and hornet aerosols are available to treat paper wasp nests. These should be applied to the nest itself, not to individual wasps. Many of these contain pyrethrins or pyrethroids. In addition, some contain a “freezing” agent that stuns the wasps to prevent them. from stinging. Be very careful if you decide to use one of these and be certain to follow label directions.


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