Habrobracon hebetor

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Habrobracon hebetor
Bracon hebetor.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Braconidae
Genus: Habrobracon
Species: H. hebetor
Binomial name
Habrobracon hebetor
(Say, 1836)
  • Bracon hebetor Say, 1836[1]
  • Bracon juglandis Ashmead, 1889[1][2]
  • Habrobracon juglandis (Ashmead, 1889)[1] [2]
  • Braco brevicornis Wesmael, 1838[3]
  • Bracon brevicornis Wesmael, 1838
  • Habrobracon brevicornis (Wesmael, 1838)[3]

Habrobracon hebetor is a minute Braconidae wasp that is an internal parasitoid to the caterpillar stage of Plodia interpunctella, the Indian meal moth, in the late larval stage of the Mediterranean flour moth and the almond moth.[4][5]

Use in biological control[edit]

The gut enzymes from the Habrobracon hebetor wasp quickly destroy the blood proteins in the moth larvae; thus it is an effective biocontrol agent.[6]

Life cycle[edit]

At 30 °C (86 °F), the life cycle of the wasp is about ten to thirteen days from initial parasitism to final emergence of the adult. The adult female parasite lives about 23 days during which it produces about 100 eggs. It deposits 1 to 8 eggs in individual paralyzed late instar moth larvae.


Habrobracon hebetor is remarkably resistant to radiation. While LD100 is estimated around 1000 rads for humans,[7] and 56,128 rads (64,000 roentgens) for the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster,[8] a study showed that H. hebetor survived X-ray radiations of 158,080 rads (180,250 R). In this study, irradiated groups even had an increased life span compared to non-irradiated control groups. An effect attributed to the lack of activity of irradiated individuals.[9][10] A similar effect has also been noticed in other insect species.[11] However, female H. hebetor were sterilized at 4,210 rads (4,800 R) exposure.[9][12] Another study showed that 218,373 rads (249,000 R) exposure instantly killed 100% H. hebetor.[13]


  1. ^ a b c http://bugguide.net/node/view/238510
  2. ^ a b http://www.taxapad.com/local.php?&indexstartGS=95615&taxgroupGS=ichneumonoidea
  3. ^ a b http://www.taxapad.com/local.php?&indexstartGS=95591&taxgroupGS=ichneumonoidea
  4. ^ Biological Control of Insects Research by D. Stanley
  5. ^ USDA Agricultural Research Service ARS, "Bracon Hebetor Biological control agent for stored product pests", Ames Iowa. 1998.
  6. ^ "Biological Control of Stored-Product Pests" Midwest Biological Control News (University of Wisconsin)
  7. ^ Anno, GH; Young, RW; Bloom, RM; Mercier, JR (2003). "Dose response relationships for acute ionizing-radiation lethality". Health Physics. 84 (5): 565–575. 
  8. ^ Hassett, CC; Jenkins, DW (1952). "Use of fission products for insect control". Nucleonics. 10: 42–46. 
  9. ^ a b Sullivan, R; Grosch, D (1953). "The radiation tolerance of an adult wasp". Nucleotics. 11: 21–23. 
  10. ^ Grosch, D; Sullivan, R (1956). "Induced lethargy and the radiation control of insects". Journal of Economic Entomology. 49 (5): 629–631. 
  11. ^ Davey W. P., 1919. Prolongation of life of Tribolium confusum apparently due to small doses of X-rays. Journal of Experimental Zoology, Vol. 28, p. 447-458
  12. ^ Grosch, DS; Sullivan, RL (1954). "The quantitative aspects of permanent and temporary sterility induced in female Habrobracon by X-Rays and β radiation". Radiation Research. 1 (3): 294–320. 
  13. ^ Heidenthal, G (1945). "The occurrence of X-ray induced dominant lethal mutations in Habrobracon". Genetics. 30: 197–205.