Powder Keg Farms is combating aphids in its gardens by releasing the Aphidius colemani wasp. This parasitic wasp is native to North America and useful for biological control of aphids in greenhouses and outdoor growing. These tiny (1/8" or 2-3 mm) aphid parasites seek out aphid colonies to provide food and a place to oviposit. Adult wasps respond to alarm signals from plants to locate the aphids where they feed on the honeydew aphids excrete. Parasitization occurs when females lay their eggs inside aphid nymphs. Aphidius colemani eggs hatch into larvae, which feed on the nymphs from the inside. Once larvae mature, adult wasps chew their way out of the aphid mummy and emerge to seek out aphids. These parasites are a good choice for year-round use in greenhouses and outdoors as the short days of winter do not affect them. Was that TMI?
Pictured is Gavin—a rising senior at Hampshire High School, who has been a tremendous help to us this summer—releasing the wasps.