Parasitoid. A parasite that can kill its host. As in a Braconid wasp. A friend of the garden.

What does a destroying parasitoid look like? 

Here’s a guy in serious trouble. I found him this morning: 

 This tomato hornworm is riddled with larva that have eaten their way through the skin (from the inside out) to pupate. A wasp in the braconid family deposited eggs just beneath this caterpillar’s skin where the eggs developed until this point, dining away at the insides of the caterpillar. When the pupae are mature, and the adult wasps emerge, this caterpillar will die.

The possibility of having this beneficial wasp in the garden makes it worth keeping a few hornworms around…just in case this happens…

   Nature is pretty amazing!


While at market yesterday, a worm emerged from one of the squashes (hey, we follow organic growing practices…bugs come with the territory), and I got to watch my own version of National Geographic Explorer on my very table as predation in all its aggressive goriness happened before my very eyes…out of NO WHERE came a wasp (yellow jacket). He immediately found the worm. No delay. The worm was done for…

Wasp stinging the worm

Wasp stinging the worm

Wasp sucking the life juices

Wasp sucking the life juices

The wasp came and went a few times.

Worm is now headless

Worm is now headless

Worm is  chewed up

Worm is chewed up

The wasp and worm had to be flicked off my table so I could finish packing up. The worm flew into two pieces. The wasp seemed sluggish, no doubt satieted…but he found the pieces on the ground and kept at it. Wild Kingdom. Roar.

Seasons change…

As we welcome, fully, the summer season, here are a few things that are going on around the farm…

Early last week, I got home late enough that the sun had pretty well set…and I was completely engulfed by an amazing aroma. Confused and drunk by the sweet scent, I couldn’t image what was the source. Then, the next morning, it hit me. I knew what had bloomed overnight…this…

Sunday’s stroll around the property also shows what else is happening (wild flowers in bloom and insect life):

Not pictured – chickory is blooming.

The bees are going wild over the red and white clover in bloom as well as the mimosa. Lots of noise out in the yard. What’s going on in your area?