Larra bicolor F. (Hymenoptera; Crabronidae) is a specialist parasitoid of Scapteriscus (Orthoptera; Gryllotalpidae) mole crickets, attacking adults and medium to large nymphs of the hosts. Adult wasps derive energy from plant nectars. In replicated trials in pastures in northern Florida, many more wasps fed on nectar of Spermacoce verticillata F. (Rubiaceae), a non-native plant, than on nectar of the native plants Spermacoce prostrata Aubl. or Spermacoce remota Lamarck. Few of them fed on the native plant Solidago fistulosa Michx. (Asteraceae). About as many fed on the native plant Chamaecrista fasciculata (Michx) Greene as on S. verticillata in the autumn months until the native plant ceased flowering by October. In contrast, S. verticillata continues flowering until the first hard freeze, which typically occurs in December, so overall, it is a more reliable nectar source in northern Florida and may be still more reliable in frost-free areas of southern Florida where it may flower year-round. The number of immature wasps (eggs and larvae) parasitizing mole crickets was positively related to host density but also declined with distance from a plot of S. verticillata out to 200 m, based on samples of pitfall trap—collected mole crickets. The occurrence of parasitized mole crickets at a 200-m distance suggests that female wasps recruited to a plot of S. verticillata forage for hosts out to at least 200 m. This in turn suggests that mole cricket populations might be diminished by planting plots of S. verticillata at least 400 m apart when L. bicolor wasps are present.
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