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How to Manage Pests

Identification: Natural Enemies Gallery

Trichogramma spp.

Scientific name: Trichogramma spp. All members of this family parasitize insect eggs. There are approximately 650 species.

Life stages of Trichogramma spp.

Click on image to enlarge

Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Trichogrammatidae

Common hosts: Eggs of hundreds of species of insects, especially moths, butterflies, and sawflies. Especially important in management of codling moth and fruitworm. A few species parasitize eggs of beetles, flies, true bugs, other wasps, and lacewings.

Commercially available: Several species are commercially available

DESCRIPTION      Life Cycle

Adults are approximately 1/25 inch (1 mm) or less—the size of a period at the end of a sentence. They often have wing hairs (setae) arranged in rows. Their body is relatively compact and the antennae are short. Trichogramma species are difficult to identify due to their minute size and generally uniform morphological features.

Trichogramma spp. undergo complete metamorphosis. The adult wasp lays an egg within a recently laid host egg, and as the wasp larva develops, it eats the host embryo, causing the egg to turn black. Because their life cycle from egg to adult is about 7 to 10 days, these parasites have many more generations than their hosts, and their populations can increase rapidly.

Trichogramma turns the eggs of some caterpillar species black. This is the best way to detect parasitization by Trichogramma.


Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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