Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wild Wednesday

WAIT! The pictures below are kinda disgusting. So I'll put them at the very end with lots of text in between, so you don't have to look. Fair enough?

Then why am I showing them to you? Simple - I've never seen this before. I didn't know what the hell it was, so snapped a couple of quick pics, then ran inside to do a little internet research. It turns out this is some sort of parasitic wasp, which is beneficial to the garden.

Apparently hornworms moved into the garden. We've had problems in the past with pests in the garden, and hubby tries to use natural remedies instead of spraying pesticides. Hey, we're gonna eat the veggies, no sense in covering them with chemicals.

The wasp to the rescue.

The wasp injects her eggs into the hornworm. The grubs push their way out of the hornworm and stay attached in their little cocoons, then emerge as they turn into little baby wasps. Here's a link about this from Pollinators blog, and here's a YT clip showing it (not mine, btw). If you want to be really gross, here's a link with video clip about parasitic wasps making "zombie" caterpillars. Hey, I warned you.

If you see one of these hanging from a plant in your garden, leave it alone. The wasps will do their job and protect the plants from more hornworms.

Here's my wasp with the infested hornworm, and two more pics of a second hornworm I found the next day! The wasp is kinda hard to see, but I didn't want to get in her way and wasn't sure if she'd sting me so I kept my distance. It appeared she was moving the grubs one by one. She'd grab one, the hornworn would wiggle, then she'd fly off to a nearby tree. She'd return and do the same. I don't know if something had gone wrong and that's why she was removing the grubs, or what exactly was happening. But again, didn't want to get too close to figure it out!

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Here's the second hornworm that I found the next day. The wasp wasn't around this time so I got a close up picture.

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Hope you've found this helpful, and now you'll know what to do if you see this in your garden!

6 comments:

  1. That is so weird, it looks like rice! Also, never eating rice again :D

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    1. It really made me say "WTF?" when I saw it.

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  2. Oh my god, E.W. I just had rice for dinner >_>

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  3. I find this interesting, I might be weird but the nature is spectacular with all the solutions it may find to live, well some of the animals and parasites at least ;-). Thank you!

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