Parasitic Wasps: Useful Helpers Against Moths

Moths are annoying pests. You can find out here how you can effectively declare war on textile moths and food moths with parasitic wasps. The parasitic wasp ( Trichogramma evanescens ) is an extremely useful helper when it comes to fighting textile and food moths. It is a parasite that lays its eggs in the eggs of its host.

With a size of just 0.4 mm, the parasitic wasp can hardly be seen with the naked eye. In addition, the parasitic wasp has no influence on humans, does not sting, and disappears on its own when all of the host’s eggs are parasitized. We’ll tell you how you can use parasitic wasps as beneficial insects against textile moths and food moths and where you can buy the little creatures.

Parasitic wasps against clothes moths

The clothes moth ( Tineola bisselliella ) is a real moth ( Tineidae ) that is distributed worldwide. It is around six to nine millimeters in size. The butterfly lays its eggs on textiles, preferably on items of clothing made from animal hair – such as wool, woolen fabrics, or furs. The larvae of the clothes moth need the keratin (protein of the animal hair fiber) and when they eat they leave behind unsightly holes and a musty smell.

With the Plantura parasitic wasps against clothes moths, you can solve this problem easily and elegantly. The ichneumon wasps are delivered in the egg stage on small cards. Over a period of several weeks, these are placed or hung in the closet near the infected items of clothing. The relatively lengthy process of fighting the clothes moth is necessary to safely cover all generations of the clothes moth. The parasitic wasp hatches from its egg parasitize the moth’s egg and thus prevents the larvae from developing into harmful butterflies.

The clothes moth lays its eggs on textiles of animal origin

Ichneumon wasps against food moths

There are many different types of food moths. These include, for example, the dried fruit moth (Plodia interpunctella ), which occurs most frequently, the corn moth ( Nemapogon granella ), the rice moth (C orcyra cephalonica ), and the flour moth ( Ephestia kuehniella ). The infestation by food moths is not only unsavory but also harbors the potential for disease. The larvae feed on the respective food and leave their excretions behind. They are all effectively combated through the use of parasitic wasps.

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Here, too, the parasitic wasps are brought out in the egg stage on special cardboard. The cardboard should be in close proximity to the site of the identified moth infestation. More parasitic wasp eggs should be spread over a period of several weeks so that the entire development cycle of the moth is covered. The parasitic wasp hatches parasitize the moth eggs and thus kills its host. Once the moth problem is completely eliminated, the parasitic wasp will also gradually disappear.

The infestation by food moths is not only unsavory but also has the potential for disease

Parasitic wasps: effective against lice, whitefly

The parasitic wasp can be used as a beneficial insect not only against moths. However, the search for hosts for the various beneficial species is very specific. Therefore, it should be checked beforehand whether an interaction between beneficial insects and pests can take place at all in the respective case.

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Expert knowledge is often required for this, but this is usually provided by the seller. As mentioned before, Trichogramma evanescens is very effective against clothes and food moths. For use against clothes moths, however, the type Trichogramma h abrobracon is also conceivable.

The most important thing, however, is that the beneficial insects have to find ideal living conditions so that they can multiply faster than the annoying pests. The temperature in particular plays an important role here. For further interesting facts about the parasitic wasps and the use of beneficial insects in general, please read our crop protection article on scale insect control.

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