Are you curious about that black insect with long legs that looks like a fly but isn’t quite one? It’s likely an ensign wasp, and one of its most striking features is its triangular, flag-like abdomen. But what really sets it apart are its long, slender legs that make it stand out from other common household insects.
When people are advised against squishing the “strange house fly,” they often react with confusion or disbelief. However, it’s worth noting that these flies are actually ensign wasps, which play a valuable role in keeping cockroach populations under control within households. Also, humans have never been stung by these wasps.
Ensign wasps have a unique and somewhat gruesome reproductive strategy that involves cockroach eggs. Female ensign wasps seek out cockroach egg cases, which are called oothecas, as a location to lay their own eggs. When the wasp egg hatches, the larva that emerges will begin to consume the wasp’s own egg, as well as any other eggs that are present in the egg case. As the larva grows and develops through several stages, it continues to feed on the other eggs in the case until it pupates and eventually emerges as an adult wasp.
This process of laying an egg within a cockroach egg case ensures a steady food source for the developing wasp larva, but it also means that cockroaches can inadvertently play host to the wasps as well.
What should you do if you find one in your home?
The control of cockroaches should take precedence over the wasp.
An estimated $16.2 billion will be spent on pest control in the US in 2020, according to a new report. You and your family could be put at risk by a bug infestation. They are recognized disease carriers, and some of them can even cause structural damage to your house if you don’t take care of them.
The problem is that not every insect is a nuisance. A pest is an animal or bug that is harmful to humans, plants, animals, or the environment as a whole, or that causes a nuisance and is detrimental in its own right. Ensign wasps, for example, are useful to have around because they pollinate flowers.
Click this link to find out more about the ensign wasp (Wikipedia) and how they can help you.
What is an Ensign Wasp?
Ensign wasps may resemble flies, but they are actually a distinct type of insect that you may have encountered in your home. These wasps have a unique appearance, with triangular abdomens that resemble flags. This trait has earned them the nickname of “hatchet wasps.” When these wasps move, their abdomens bob up and down in a manner that looks like flag-waving, which is how they got their name “ensign wasps.” So, if you have ever noticed a fly-like insect with a flag-like abdomen in your home, it is likely an ensign wasp.
Ensign wasps have an interesting role to play in maintaining the balance of your home’s ecosystem. As members of the Evaniida family, they rely on a diet of nectar and honeydew that is dropped by aphids onto plants. Despite their small size, these wasps can grow up to 3/4 inch in length as adults, making them a formidable presence in the world of household insects.
How are Ensign Wasps Beneficial?
There is no evidence to suggest that the ensign wasp stings or harms humans or pets in any manner. Squishing an ensign wasp isn’t a good idea because of this. Cockroach infestations can be controlled by hatchet wasps while they multiply.
Roaches are one of the most difficult pests to get rid of completely because they are so adaptable. This is due to the fact that even after killing the roaches, their eggs might remain dormant for months before hatching. Ensign wasps come into play here. To lay her eggs, a female hatchet wasp seeks for cockroach egg cases, known as ootheca in the trade.
The cockroach eggs in the case will be eaten by the larva of an ensign wasp when it hatches from its egg. When the larva pupates, it will emerge as an adult.
Working with Ensign Wasps to Control Cockroach Populations
In conclusion, if you come across an ensign wasp in your home, don’t panic. Ensign wasps can help control cockroach populations, but it’s still important to take proactive measures to prevent infestations from taking hold.