Parasitic Wasps

The early stages of this common wasp feed on the young of other insects.
Beneficial Ichneumon Parasitoid Wasp

Beneficial Ichneumon Parasitoid Wasp

One of hundreds of varieties of parastic wasps, the ichneumon parasitoid wasp is about 1-1/2 inches long.

One of hundreds of varieties of parastic wasps, the ichneumon parasitoid wasp is about 1-1/2 inches long.

Parasitic wasps can be either friend or foe. The long black "stinger" on the back end of its body is an ovipositer — a device that allows it to lay eggs in the soft larval body of a variety of insects, including beetles, grubs, flies and pest caterpillars. Its young hatch inside the host's body and eat their way out. The catch is that sometimes it preys on beneficial insects and spiders, such as butterflies and other wasps. Some species lay their eggs in wood.

There are thousands of species in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes, and they're found throughout the U.S. Parasitic wasps typically look like skinny wasps with very long antennae. You can usually find them hunting in the garden for prey by day or flying around porch lights in the evening. The adults of most types can sting.

Next Up

Beneficial Insect: Braconid Wasps

Inside each of the little white cocoons on this targeted hornworm is a future garden-pest eating machine.

In the Zone: Understand Climate and Hardiness

Knowing the local climate is the first step in understanding hardiness and hardiness zones.

Extending the Gardening Season

Use these methods to stretch extra days and weeks out of your growing season.

How to Be a Master Gardener

Become a plant boss and start the process of advancing your green education.

How to Help Orchids Flourish

Discover and learn about the intoxicating world of orchids.

Planting Australian Plants in Your Garden

Some of these specimens from Down Under could have great potential for American gardens.

Tropical, Hardy Hibiscus

Rose of Sharon, a hardy hibiscus, is quite similar to tropical ones and can be grown in many more areas.

Five Fabulous Potting Benches

Form and function come together in these essential garden workhorses.

Gardening Terms You May or May Not Know

Test your green I.Q. with these garden terms.

Beneficial Reptiles in the Garden

Find out how to encourage and work with these garden helpmates.

1,000+ Photos

Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.


Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.