In holometabolous insects reproductive success is strongly determined by the nutritional resources available to the females. In addition to nutrients derived from adult feeding, resources for egg production may come from the limited reserves accumulated during the larval stages. The pattern of allocation of these larval reserves to egg production is expected to be strongly linked to the nutritional ecology of the adult. We investigate the temporal pattern of allocation of larval reserves to reproduction in a host–feeding parasitoid wasp. As predicted by the dynamics of allocation of an adult meal, larval reserves are the main source of nutrients for four or five days after emergence. However, despite the high frequency of host–feeding and the high nutrient content of a haemolymph meal, which we predicted would lead to larval reserves being conserved in the event of host deprivation, larval reserves contribute to egg production throughout the lifetime of the female. We propose several mechanistic and adaptive explanations for our results, including the possible existence of a limiting or key nutrient for egg production of exclusively larval origin. We make further predictions concerning the pattern of allocation of larval resources in parasitoids with different adult nutritional requirements.