Matricariae Wasp- Aphidius matricariae are tiny black wasps (3-4 mm long) with long antennae and pointed abdomen, that parasitizes aphids. They are effective for small aphid species such as; Myzus persicae (Green peach aphid) and Aphis gossypii (Melon aphid). The adult wasps have a highly efficient flight behavior and great at host location, providing good control if introduced early in season. This species of Aphidius wasp is very effective at aphid control; they live longer and are known to parasitize over 200 aphids in their lifecycle. They also feed on additional aphids, killing them in the process.
The ideal temperature for development is 22-25°C. This wasp is less tolerant of high temperatures (over 30°C) than other Aphidius species. The life cycle is egg, 4 larval instars, pupae, then adult (14 days at 21°C). The females can produce over 300 eggs (mostly laid in first 3 days after emergence). The female deposits an egg in a live aphid where the four larval instars develop. Eggs hatch into larvae that consume the internal contents of aphids. The larva spins a cocoon inside the aphid cuticle, causing the swelled look of the “mummy”. The adult then exits the mummy through a round hole. The A. matricariae pupal mummies are a leathery golden brown colour and can be identified from other aphid parasitoid wasps by their colour.
These wasp species are susceptible to hyperparasitization (another wasp species that lays its eggs inside the wasp larvae that is already laid inside the aphid). These hyperparasitoid wasps spontaneously enter the greenhouse in the summer and can seriously effect bio-control programs. Identification by the mummy is only possible after emergence of the adult (the hyperparasite leaves a jagged, irregular exit hole in the mummy). The Aphidius spp. leaves a round exit hole with a lid attatched on the posterior end of the aphid mummy.