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Organic Pest Control
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Trichogramma wasps

The Trichogramma wasp is a common, readily available beneficial parasitic wasp. Trichogramma wasps are tiny, under a millimetre or 0.04 inch in length. They can be effective against most moth and butterfly caterpillars, including armyworms, cabbage worms and cabbage loopers, codling moths, corn borers and corn earworms, cotton bollworms and budworms, cutworms, leafrollers, tomato hornworms, and webworms.

Use of the Trichogramma wasp has met with some controversy: in a number of studies, it just hasn't been shown to be effective. This typically appears related to suboptimal numbers, poor timing, poor quality wasps, incorrect application, or using it against the wrong host.

For best effect, adequate numbers of healthy wasps need to be released at the right time. Trichogramma parasitizes only newly laid moth or butterfly eggs, so wasps should be released regularly (usually weekly or biweekly) from when moths or butterflies first emerge to when good control is achieved.

Trichogramma wasps are usually supplied in the form of parasitized eggs glued to cardboard squares; they are available year-round. Be sure to purchase species suitable to your target pest. Read the instructions provided by your supplier.

Finally, wasps require moisture, food, and shelter as described under parasitic wasps. As with many other beneficials, Trichogramma wasps are sensitive to insecticides.

See Also

Corn borers
Organic insecticides
Parasitic wasps

Related Topics

Parasitic wasps

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