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Bug of the Week: Tiny Parasitic Wasp

Our discovery this week is due to some photogenic wild sunflowers.

sunflower-1I was taking a few photographs, when...

sunflower-flying-wasp-18what is that tiny insect flying by?

sunflower-wasp-flying-0006There it is again. Can you spot it?

little-wasp-on-sunflower-13To give you scale, this is what it looks like on a sunflower petal (actually ray flower).

wasp-on-sunflower-petal-40Talk about tiny! It is a parasitic wasp (Pteromalidae).

Why are tiny wasps hovering around a sunflower? It is possible that they are parasites of insects that visit sunflowers. Many species are parasites of insect eggs. It is also possible the wasps are feeding on nectar, although I saw no evidence of feeding. They also could be males waiting for females to visit.

What do you think these tiny wasps are doing?

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