Parasitization

Introduction

This “Parasitization” activity can be used as an icebreaker. It involves the participants in a group activity and it introduces some knowledge on parasitization.

Objectives

  1. This parasitization exercise is mainly for fun. It demonstrates that wasps use an ovipositor to lay eggs in their host.

Duration

  • 15-20 minutes

Materials

  • One empty bottle per group
  • A piece of string (1 meter long) per group
  • One ballpoint pen or pencil per group

Methodology

  1. Divide the participants into groups (4 to 6 persons per group) of equal size.
  2. Each group of participants receives a string with a pen or pencil tied to one end of it.
  3. The bottles are placed in a row, with sufficient space between them, on one end of the room.
  4. Explain to the participants that they will be parasitic wasps. They will have to lay eggs on a pest. The pen, hanging from the string is the ovipositor, while the bottle will be the pest.
  5. All groups form one line each at one side of the room (opposite the bottles).
  6. The first person in each line ties the other end of the string around the waist, with the pen (ovipositor) hanging behind.
  7. When the signal is given the “wasp” will walk to the bottle and try to put the pen in the bottle as fast as possible, but without using the hands.
  8. When this has succeeded, he/she will run back to the group and give the ovipositor to the next person.
  9. Continue until all persons in the group have had their run.
  10. The fastest group wins.

Some guidelines for discussion

  1. Which group finished first? Why?
  2. Which group finished last? Why?
  3. Have you ever seen parasitization in your field? What did you see?