Cockroach wasps

Ampulex wasps are 8-15 mm long with a shiny black to brownish black body. Their wings are clear and the antennae long. These wasps are widely distributed around the world. They are characterized bynotmakingnests to rear theiryoung, butdrag their prey to a nearby cavity or hole in the ground. There are many species in the genus and cockroaches are the only known prey.

Ampulexamoena This species occurs in Asia. Itpreys on small nymphs of Periplaneta americana and P. australasiae. The female cockroach wasp grasps the cockroach nymph and stings it several times in the thorax, and moves the nymph to a cavity, either indoors or outdoors. The wasp may amputate the cockroach antennae, and ingest hemolymph from the open end. One egg is deposited on the cockroach mesothorax. As many as three cockroaches may be attacked and stored each day. Eggs hatch in 2 days, and the first-stage larva feeds on the cockroach hemolymph for 1-2 days, then feeds on the internal body parts for about 2 days. Adults emerge from the pupal cocoon in about 30 days.

Ampulex compressa This species occurs in Asia and Hawaii. It preys on adult Periplaneta americana and P. australasiae cockroaches. Females remove the legs, antennae, and wings of the cockroach, and then attach an egg to the mesothoracic coxa. These wasps will frequently enter houses in search of prey, and they may prey on 43-71 cockroaches.

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