Parasitic wasp, Aphidius ervi for aphid control

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Aphid endoparasitic wasp Aphidius ervi wasps are black in color, 4-5 mm long and slender bodied with brown colored legs and long antennae. These endoparasitic aphid wasps are commercially available and considered as the excellent biological control agent in controlling different species of aphids especially Acyrthosiphon pisum, Macrosiphum euphorbiae and Myzus persicae that cause a serious damage to many economically important crops grown in the greenhouses, fields, organic vegetable gardens and orchards.

Facts (show all)

- Endoparasitic aphid wasps, Aphidius ervi are effective against following species of aphids
  • Glasshouse potato aphid, Aulacorthum solani (Host crops: Potatoes, sweet pepper etc)
  • Green peach aphid, Myzus persicae (Host crops: Potatoes, sweet pepper etc)
  • Pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum (Host crops: Alfalfa, Clover, peas)
  • Potato aphid, Macrosiphum euphorbiae (Host crops: 200 different plants including potatoes)
+ Key factors for effectiveness of endoparasitic aphid wasp,Aphidius ervi
  • For effective control of aphids, release 250 adults of endoparasitc aphid wasps Aphidius ervi per 100 square feet of aphid infested area.
  • Endoparasitic aphid wasp Aphidius ervi adults are very active searchers of their aphid hosts even at very low population densities.
  • Aphidius ervi uses volatile chemical cues released from host-aphid-damaged plants to located colonies of host aphids.
  • Once Aphidius ervi wasp finds an aphid colony, they use both visual and olfactory cues to find an appropriate size aphid to lay eggs.
  • When females of Aphidius ervi wasp find an appropriate size aphid, they use their ovipositors to lay a single egg inside the aphid host.
  • Then eggs hatch inside the aphid and the hatched larvae start feeding and developing into pupae and then into adult.
  • This parasitized aphid then bloat, dies and its body becomes crispy that referred to as mummy, which is typically golden to brown or black in color.
  • After 14- 15 days, adult wasps will start emerging from mummies and life cycle continues.
  • If ants are present on aphid infested plants in your garden or greenhouse, control them first before releasing Aphidius ervi wasps as ants will defend aphids from predators and parasites to protect their honeydew food. If ants are not controlled, effectiveness of wasps as a parasite will be reduced.
  • Aphidius ervi wasp performs better against aphids when aphid population is at very low level in the garden.
  • As adult Aphidius ervi wasps are generally attracted to yellow sticky traps and get killed before they can parasitize aphids by laying eggs in aphid body, remove all the yellow sticky traps used for whitefly control before releasing wasps in your gardens, greenhouse, fields and orchards.
  • The preventive applications of Aphidius ervi will prevent out-break of certain species of aphids.
+ How Aphidius ervi are applied in the greenhouses or fields
  • Aphidius ervi are generally shipped as ready-to-use adults in small vials.
  • When package is arrived and you are not ready to release Aphidius ervi wasps in your garden, store packages in a cool place and avoid direct exposure to sunlight.
  • It is always better to release these wasps in the field within 15-20 hours of their arrival or storage.
  • As a preventive measure, release adult wasps by opening vials and walking slowly in the garden. Adult wasps should escape themselves from the vials.
  • As a curative measure, wasp adults should be released directly in the colonies of aphids or in the heavily infested areas with aphids in the vegetable gardens, greenhouses or fields.
  • Under favorable environmental conditions and if there is enough food around, these parasites may recycle continuously and help to keep the aphid population under economic threshold level.
+ How Aphidius ervi wasps work in the greenhouses or fields
  • Aphidius ervi are generally shipped as ready-to-use adults in vials.
  • When Aphidius ervi wasp adults are applied in the vegetable gardens, greenhouses or fields, they will be attracted to aphid colonies by responding to the smell of honeydews secreted by aphids on the infested plants or to the volatile chemicals from aphid damaged plants.
  • When adult wasps come across to colonies of aphids, they will select a suitable size aphid using their antennae and vision to lays in aphid body.
  • Once an appropriate size aphid is found, adult wasp using its ovipositor lay eggs inside aphid body.
  • Wasp eggs hatch within the aphid body and hatched young larvae start feeding on the body content of aphid, complete its development and pupate within the aphid body.
  • The parasitized dead aphids will then turn into crispy, gold to brown or black colored mummies.
  • After 14- 15 days, adult wasps will start emerging from mummies, life cycle will continue and they will continue to suppress the population of host aphids that are responsible for causing economic damage to many crops grown in your gardens or fields.
+ Why you need endoparasitic wasp Aphidius ervi
  • they can reduce the crop damage by parasitizing and killing various host species of aphids, which are responsible for the crop damage
  • they can parasitize and kill all different stages of their aphid hosts
  • they are able to actively search for their aphid hosts, parasitize and kill them
  • they can reproduce and continue their life cycle on aphids in your garden after first application
  • they are commercially available and easy to apply in the greenhouses or fields
+ Why parasitic wasps are safer than traditional pesticides
  • they do not cause damage to plants
  • they can be used and applied around children and pets
  • they do not cause any harm to the personnel involved in their production and application
  • food products are safe to handle and eat when they are treated with wasps
  • they do not harm humans, animals and pollute the environment
+ Research Papers
  1. Battaglia, D., Poppy, G.M., Powell, W., Romano, A., Tranfaglia, A. and Pennacchio, F. 2000. Physical and chemical cues influencing the ovipositional behaviour of Aphidius ervi. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, 94, 219–227.
  2. Du, Y., Poppy, G.M., Powell, W., Pickett, J.A., Wadhams, L.J. and Woodcock, C.M. 1998. Identification of semiochemical released during aphid feeding that attracts the parasitoid Aphidius ervi. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 24, 1355–1368.
  3. Feng, M.G., Johnson, J.B. and Halbert, S.E. 1991.Natural control of cereal aphids (Homoptera, Aphididae) by entomopathogenic fungi (Zygomycetes, Entomophthorales) and parasitoids (Hymenoptera, Braconidae and Encyrtidae) on irrigated spring wheat in southwestern Idaho. Environmental Entomology 20: 1699-1710.
  4. Gillespie, D.R. and Acheampong, S. 2012. Dropping behaviour in Aulacorthum solani (Hemiptera: Aphididae) following attack by Aphidius ervi (Hymenoptera: Braconidae): are sticky stem bands a useful integrated pest management method? Canadian Entomologist 144: 589-598.
  5. Guerrieri, E., Poppy, G.M., Powell, W., Tremblay, E. and Pennacchio, F. 1999. Induction and systemic release of herbivore-induced plant volatiles mediating in-flight orientation of Aphidius ervi. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 25, 1247–1261.

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Parasitic wasp, Aphidius ervi for aphid control

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