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Beneficial Parasitic Wasps

Folks who have ventured into a peanut field in recent weeks may have seen something similar to the picture posted below. The white mass is a cluster of pupal cases (cocoons) of a parasitic wasp. The tiny wasp lays its eggs in a caterpillar, the eggs hatch, and the wasp larvae feed on the still living host. The larvae emerge from the caterpillar and spin the silken cocoons (as seen in the picture) where they complete their development before emerging as fully formed adults. We haveĀ  seen these attacking cutworms in peanut fields over the last couple weeks.

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