Cacoxenus indagator (garden)

“Cocoxenus indagator, a ‘fruit fly’ that starves some solitary bees to death

You may see these little ‘fruit flies’ around your red mason bee nest boxes. This feeble flying insect is no fruit fly as a larva. It is a cleptoparasite . They are opportunists and literally hang around watching and waiting. They are looking to sneak into an empty cell, check it out to see if any pollen has been stored. If it has, she will quickly lay some eggs and leave pretty pronto before the host bee returns. The resulting larvae eat the pollen store and in many cases if there are simply too many of them, the bee larva will starve, usually to death. You can find up to ten larvae in one cell.”

Interesting to find it in a Blue mason bee nest

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Helorus rufipes parasitic wasp (Cavenham heath NR)

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 Helorus rufipes. You don’t get much more obscure than this. It’s one of three British species of the family Heloridae, a family found over much of the globe but not one of the hymenopteran success stories, with only a small number of species. They’re not very big and they are not very flashy but they do live in British woodlands and gardens and are quietly going about their business, laying eggs in lacewing larvae and eating them from the inside. This specimen was on the wall by my back door as I left for work one morning. But you won’t find Helorus in many field guides or many online illustrations. Just one of many obscure families of Hymenoptera that fill our landscape.

Sorry for the blurred photo but it flew before I could get a better one.

Chrysalis parasitic wasps Ptertomalus sp (Allotment)

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I have posted these little wasps before but never with a chrysalis. these wasps are tiny but very numerous on the allotment where we get so many Cabbage white butterflies. The adult injects eggs into the chrysalis where its young develope and eat the pupating caterpillar.

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Before emerging the following year to carry on the cycle

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Dinocampus coccinellae (parasitic wasp)(garden)

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Description
A tiny parthenogenetic wasp which is an endoparasitoid of adult ladybird beetles. The adult wasp is rarely seen but investigation of non-moving ladybirds will sometimes reveal a cocoon of this wasp beneath.
Habitat
Wherever its host ladybird species are to be found. 7 Spot, 11 Spot and Cream-streaked Ladybirds seem to be the preferred hosts.
When to see it
Spring and summer when the host ladybirds are about in numbers.
Life History
The adult wasp locates and stalks its prey before inserting a single egg by thrusting its ovipositor through any weak point in the cuticle. The hatching larva then uses its mandibles to kill the eggs or emerging larvae of any other wasps which may have attacked the same ladybird. It will soon moult into its second instar with mouthparts more suitable for feeding on the host. This feeding concentrates on the fat reserves and the food that would be used to develop the gonads, leaving the vital organs intact. When ready to pupate, the larva causes the ladybird to become immobile, before breaking out of the host’s abdomen through the membrane between the fifth and sixth or sixth and seventh abdominal plates. It then spins a cocoon between the host’s legs. The ladybird is still alive at this point, but in a paralysed state with its warning colours serving to protect the pupa from predation. Once pupation is complete the adult wasp emerges and flies off to seek a new host, leaving the ladybird to succumb to starvation or fungal infection…. Naturespot 

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Aphid Mummies

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You learn something new every day, while trying to ID this Aphid type it came to light that these have been mummified , in each one is a Parasitic wasp larvae which will emerge fully developed.

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 Natural enemies are various species of parasitic wasps that lay their eggs inside aphids. The skin of the parasitized aphid turns crusty and golden brown, a form called a mummy. The generation time of most parasites is quite short when the weather is warm, so once you begin to see mummies on your plants, the aphid population is likely to be reduced substantially within a week or two.

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I have just been out to check and sure enough here is a photo I took of the empty bodies and you can clearly see where the wasp has emerged from mummified aphid body.

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Today I found the wasp that parasitise the Aphids

Emerald wasp (Omalus aeneus)

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Description
About 9mm long and a rather iridescent sea green in colour.
Habitat
Associated with open habitats with aerial nesting sites of its hosts such as wooden fence and gate posts, dead trees, logs and tree stumps, and holes in mud and cob walls.
When to see it
Recorded from May until September but mainly during June and July. There are a very few records from April and October. The males and females have the same flight period.
Life History
Several umbellifers are amongst the flowers it visits. It is a cuckoo wasp and its hosts include wasps of the Trypoxylon family.
UK Status
This species shows a widespread distribution in southern Britain up as far as Yorkshire with isolated records from further north..

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A great little find