The European Corn Borer
The European corn borer, a serious pest of sweet corn, can turn a plump-looking ear of corn into an unappetizing mess. Sure, pesticides exist to prevent such damage, but who wants pesticides in their corn? So that you do not have to choose between a glamorous-looking ear of corn with a scary history and a healthier, unprepossessing one, Cornell’s Department of Entomology has developed an alternative method of pest management to help prevent this kind of corn damage—wasps.
If you think of wasps as striped-bodied buzzing insects that you became painfully familiar with at some point in your life, prepare to be surprised: there are many species of wasps that do not sting. Indeed, they are beneficial.
For Michael Hoffmann, Entomology, wasps are a subject of passion and unending curiosity that even many years of research cannot quench. One particular group of wasps that fascinates Hoffmann is the parasitic wasp Trichogramma ostriniae.
“Over the course of its lifetime (about three weeks), the female Trichogramma lays its eggs in up to 50 corn borer eggs—lots of worm control from one wasp!”