If what is said about the enemy of my enemy being a friend is true, then this type of wasp should be welcome inside most insects.
This species is an example of a hyperparasitic wasp. This means it is a parasite of the parasites on an insect. There are species of wasp that lay eggs on caterpillars, and these wasp larvae feed on the insides of the caterpillar once they hatch, making them parasites. A hyperparasitic wasp does not feed on the caterpillar; it feeds on the other types of wasps that do. In order to do that, these tiny wasp eggs are consumed by the caterpillar, which blindly chews through the leaf they are laid on. This strategy brings the hyperparasites in close contact with their own food source. All of this hatching and feasting occurs inside the caterpillar, so it is unlikely to survive even if the hyperparasite consumes the parasites before they can pupate. If the caterpillar does not have parasites inside them to eat, the hyperparasitic larvae die.
While hyperparasitic wasps can be beneficial in controlling unwanted parasitic wasp populations, there are situations where a parasitic wasp needs protection from them. When a caterpillar is destroying crops or other plants, introducing parasitic wasps to the area makes them a useful tool in managing caterpillar populations. Introducing hyperparasitic wasps limits the efficacy of the management program.
Hyperparasitic wasps are much smaller than ordinary wasps. They are often black with yellow bands and markings. Because they are small and fast, catching sight of a hyperparasitic wasp is a rare event, which seems fitting for an insect with such an uncommon life history.
Scientific Name: Taeniogonalos gundlachii
Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
Size (Adult; Length): 6mm to 8mm (0.23in to 0.31in)
Colors: black; yellow
Descriptors: small; smoky wings; long antennae; yellow feet; curled abdomen; yellow around eyes; flying
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Ant, Bee, and Wasp Anatomy
Antennae: Ants and Bees both have a pair of antennae on the head that senses their surroundings.
Head: The head contains the insect's compound eyes, antennae, and mandibles.
Thorax: Contains various vital parts such as the aorta and nervous system.
Abdomen: Contains various organs including the heart, gut, venom glands, and anus.
Legs: Ants and Bees have three pairs of legs attached to the thorax (center-body section).
NOTE: Ants, Bees and Wasps are part of the Hymenoptera order because they share many similarities.