The Tarantula Hawk Wasp is one of the largest wasp species found in North America. It is named for its similar hunting style as hawks and particularly preys on tarantulas. The tarantula hawk wasp uses a paralyzing venom that coats their stingers to hunt and capture tarantulas. The tarantula hawk wasp is considered to have the most painful sting out of all of the other stinging pests. Luckily they are not aggressive in nature. However, there are concerns if you are seeing them constantly flying around your yard. Animal Pest Management Services, Inc will share more about the Tarantula Hawk Wasp and how you can control them around your yard.
Tarantula Hawk Wasps Identification Facts
The tarantula hawk wasp is a desert wasp species and can be found in areas populated by tarantulas, which is both interesting and concerning. A frequent presence of tarantula hawk wasps indicates they are finding food. Tarantula hawk wasps are very large, easily reaching 2 ½ inches in length which gives them the title of the largest wasp found in North America. They have a unique metallic blueish black coloring with either orange or black colored wings. They have long black antennae and velvet like legs with hook claws at the feet.
Tarantula Hawk Wasp Diet & Nests
The tarantula hawk wasp is most active during the hot summer months and will fly very low to the ground searching for prey. They primarily hunt tarantulas but will make do with other large spider species. The tarantula hawk wasp actually feeds on nectar, pollen and fruit. They themselves don’t eat the spiders they catch, but instead feed them to their larva. Tarantula hawk wasp females dig burrows and then cover them after she finds enough food for her young to feed on. She will cover the burrow to provide her eggs and future generations with both food and safety, much like cicada killer wasps.
What to Do when Stung by a Tarantula Hawk Wasp
The females are the ones with the deadly stings and use different hunting strategies to capture her prey. While tarantula hawk wasps are not aggressive, if one does sting you, expect excruciating pain for about five minutes and then redness at the site. If you experience any venom allergy symptoms such as the inability to breath, seek medical attention.
Preventing Tarantula Hawk Wasps
There are two type of wasps: social and solitary. Tarantula Hawk Wasps are solitary wasps and don’t travel in groups or colonies. They also don’t create hives. Instead, as stated, Tarantula Hawk Wasps create burrows. They often use the natural cavities in rocks or trees or steal burrows from other insects and even small animals. A constant presence of Tarantula Hawk Wasps indicates an abundant food supply, or a female has found a place to lay her eggs. Controlling Tarantula Hawk Wasps is difficult and dangerous. Even though they are not aggressive in nature, a female may defend her burrow or if threatened, both males and females will sting. To prevent close encounters with this large wasp, you may want to take steps.
Step 1. Start by sealing all of the cracks around your home, especially the foundation. Make sure all doors and windows are sealed and the screens are in good condition. Avoid leaving the doors or windows open. Additionally, cover dryer and attic vents and even chimneys to prevent them from entering into the home.
Step 2. If you have a Tarantula Hawk Wasp problem, then you have a tarantula or spider problem. You may want to do some landscaping clean up and remodeling. Spiders like rock cavities, yard debris, long grass and untrimmed bushes. You will want to make sure the bushes have a clearing of 6 to 12 inches off of the ground and prune over growth. Think about the positioning of rocks too. Rocks often provide homes for both spiders and Tarantula Hawk Wasps.
Step 3. Repair or prevent water sources outside. Remember, a large spider presence means they too have a food and water source. Controlling small insects and pests will cut back on spiders and in turn, control Tarantula Hawk Wasps.
Stinging Insect Inspections, Control, Removal & More in San Bernardino, Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside & San Diego Counties, California
By controlling pests and small insects around your home, you will help deter spider and Tarantula Hawk Wasps from around your home. If you need professional pest control services, contact Animal Pest Management Services, Inc today.