) belong to the insect order Hymenoptera
. Most of the species are parasitoids
of other insects, attacking the egg or larval stage of their host. These hosts are to be found in many insect orders including Lepidoptera
(butterflies and moths), Diptera
(true flies), Coleoptera
(beetles) and Homoptera
(true bugs). A few species are phytophagous
and the larvae feed inside seeds, stems, and galls. Generally beneficial to humans as a group, chalcids keep crop pests under control, and many species have been imported to control insect pests. They can be found almost everywhere, particularly on flowers and foliage but are often overlooked due to their very small size. Chalcids are tiny, dark-coloured wasps, often metallic blue or green with complex sculpturing on the body. They are also recognized by the characteristic reduced wing venation. They have a significant part to play in ecosystems and their true importance cannot be overestimated.