Subject: My new roommates!
Location: St. Thomas, USVI
January 30, 2014 6:53 pm
As I’ve been traveling around the US for the past year, I’ve been able to identify quite a lot of my “new roommates” through your great web resource here. (Thanks!) It’s been a fun and comforting challenge to observe, document, and identify each diverse creature that I’ve come across. Currently, I’m in the Virgin Islands (so, although it is winter season, the temperatures still range from about 74-84 degrees right now). This little guy appears to be a thread-waisted wasp to me, but just wanted to seek your expert opinion.
I’m new to the area, but I’ve seen a few of them in my apartment over the past couple days, and I definitely didn’t think it was a wasp at first just because they are a much smaller size than I usually associate with wasps. I also have quite a funny group of case-bearing cloth larva living here as well, and I see the signs of termites here, but have yet to spot any individual termites. So, there are lots of friends!
This Ensign Wasp really is your friend. The female Ensign Wasp lays her eggs on the ootheca or egg case of a Cockroach, and the larval wasp eats the eggs and developing nymphs of the Cockroach, helping to control the Cockroach populations in homes. The abdomen of the Ensign Wasp bobs up and down as it moves about, much like the action of signalling with a flag, hence the common name.
Daniel, thank you! Very nice news to hear about the ensign wasp helping to control the cockroach population. I appreciate your help in identifying it! Have a great February!