Chalcid wasps are mostly parasitoids of other insects but a couple of species are pests as they feed on plant matter. Chalcids are generally small wasps with very small antenna that are bent. The hind legs are usually swollen which I lovingly like to refer to as “chunky baby legs”.
Chalcids are parasitoids of several groups of insects including Diptera (flies), Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths), Coleoptera (beetles), and Hymenoptera (true bugs). Some deposit eggs inside their hosts’ eggs while others attack the nymphs.
Year round, especially in greenhouse settings.
Like most insects, they are most abundant in tropical locations but can be found in temperate zones all over the world.
While potential hosts are quite appealing, food for the adult is just as good! Most may feed on insects as larva, but as adults they feed on nectar.
Make sure to have lots of nectar and pollen friendly plants available close to where your plants are. The adults typically feed on nectar but also fluids from animal wounds. Maybe don’t try to attract them that way though. Good plants to consider are marigolds, Queen Anne’s lace, and fennel.
Like braconids, chalcids are harmless to humans. The group these parasitic wasps belong to (Superfamily: Chalcidoidea) contains over 22,000 species with estimates reaching over 500,000. This makes them the most diverse group of insects on the planet!