(Hymenoptera: Sphecidae) Identification
Stout-bodied to slender, often with a very narrow waist and wide head.
Active near open sandy areas and flowers.
1 ⁄ 4 – 2 "
Many species specialize on various insect prey species. Females capture prey and bring back to larvae in nests.
Other insects confused with thread- waisted wasps
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Vespid Wasps (Yellowjackets,
Medium to large, black with yellow or white markings; wings smoky and folded longitudinally.
1 ⁄ 2 – 1 1 ⁄ Vespula pensylvanica 2 "
Adults bring masticated insects, meat, and nectar of many types back to larvae in large nests.
Other insects confused with vespid wasps
Larger Parasitoid Wasps
(Hymenoptera: e.g., Ichneumonidae, Braconidae)
Braconids are < ½", Ichneumonids are usually larger with a longer abdomen.
Kill hosts by parasitism or by piercing and feeding; hosts include insect larvae, pupae, and aphids.
Adults found at flowers or looking for hosts; monitor by looking for parasitized hosts (p. 23).
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Smaller Parasitoid Wasps
(Hymenoptera: e.g., Chalcididae, Eulophidae, Encyrtidae, Trichogrammatidae, Aphelinidae, Pteromalidae)
Identification Mostly <1/ 8"
Kill hosts by parasitism; hosts include insect eggs, larvae, and pupae.
Chalcid wasp Chrysocharis sp.
Monitor by looking for parasitized hosts (p. 23).
Parasitized and Diseased Insect Pests
Identification and observation tips
Parasitoid larvae and pupae are difficult to identify. One of the best identification methods is to collect hosts that look unusual and hold in a container until the parasitoid develops into an
parasitoid larvae on hosts
Individuals with a viral or bacterial infection often are darkened or watery. Individuals with a fungal infection often look fuzzy.
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© 2007 Oregon State University. This publication may be photocopied or reprinted in its entirety for noncommercial purposes. This publication was produced and distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. Extension work is a cooperative program of Oregon State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Oregon counties. Oregon State University Extension Service offers educational programs, activities, and materials without discrimination based on age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran’s status. Oregon State University Extension Service is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Published December 2007. 24