Metaphycus helvolus
Encyrtid wasp, a parasitoid of soft scales 

Photography by Max E. Badgley (1922-2006)

Metaphycus helvolus female, on black scale.
Photo © Max E. Badgley, published with permission from the Max E. Badgley Estate, with special thanks to the University of California, Riverside, who kindly supplied this image from the UCR Chalcidoidea database collection.

This small encyrtid wasp, native of South Africa, was introduced in California in 1937 to combat black scale, a serious pest of citrus. Once M. helvolus became established in southern California, black scale reverted to the status of a secondary pest of citrus, so effective was this parasitic wasp in its predation. M. helvolus thrives in semi-tropical areas and in greenhouses, but cannot survive cold winters. It is polyphagous, with a wide range of hosts, including black scale, hemispherical scale, brown soft scale, nigra scale, citricola scale, and European fruit lecanium.

Female M. helvolus are orange-yellow in color; males are dark brown. Mature females lay several eggs a day in the softer bodies of 2nd and 3rd-instar scales whose coverings are easily penetrated by their ovipositors. Besides parasitizing scales in this manner, the wasp also feeds on the body fluids of other, less mature scales, and on nectar and honeydew from a variety of sources.

M. helvolus is reared by insectories for use in greenhouses.

Badgley Photography Index

* TERMITE ENCOUNTERS  *  SNAKE ENCOUNTERS SNAKE BITE FIRST AID * SNAKE EXCLUSION * SPIDER ENCOUNTERS FOR 2008 SPIDER ENCOUNTERS FOR 2007 * SPIDER BITE FIRST AID * SPIDER EXTERMINATION * PUSS CATERPILLAR ENCOUNTERS * PUSS CATERPILLAR FIRST AID * PUSS CATERPILLAR EXTERMINATIONAssembled & Edited by Jerry Cates. Questions? Corrections? Comments? BUG ME RIGHT NOW! ---- Ph: 512-331-1111 ---- E-Mail ---- Privacy ----BugsInTheNews * --0a0s--