Tarantula Wasp Hawk; Everything You Need To Know

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The Tarantula wasp hawk is the largest wasp in the world and has the ability to take down many of the large spiders in the world, and don’t be alarmed it doesn’t feed on humans. As they say, knowledge is a vital impact in a reader’s mind so if you love reading then grab a drink or a snack and join us as we unravel the mysteries of the Tarantula Wasp Hawk.


Here are the breakdown of all our discovery on the tarantula hawk we will be looking into;

What is a Tarantula Wasp Hawk? 

Where does the Tarantula wasp Hawk live?

Life Cycle of the Tarantula Wasp Hawk

Tarantula Wasp Hawk Bite

Tarantula Wasp Hawk Location

Tarantula Wasp Hawk Size

Tarantula Wasp Hawk Sting

Tarantula Wasp Hawk Picture

Tarantula Wasp Hawk Nest


What is a Tarantula Wasp Hawk?

Before reading an article you will want to know what it’s about, before going into the full content description. So here is what are they:

This pest as we choose to call it, is a brightly coloured spider hunter or you can refer to it as a predator with dark blue bodies that appears to be iridescent (seems to change colour when viewed from different angles) and long legs. These insects possess brightly coloured wings which are orange in colour (serves as a warning signal for other predators in its habitat) and antennae, straight in males and curly in females.

The feeding habit of these species seems to be specific as they are known to feed mainly on spiders and not just any spiders, but the tarantula spiders as their name implies.

Hawks are birds are predators known to soar the air just like the eagle, searching for a prey to attack and devour. They may feed on flying insects such as the grasshopper, cricket, moth, etc. , rodents such as rats, and occasionally feed on pets such as cats and dogs, etc.

Just as the hawk preys on other animals, so does the tarantula wasp hawk fly and attack their preys. Although they have a regular pattern with the hawk, as their names imply, they do not feed on a great variety of preys, but specifically on the tarantulas.

The tarantulas appear to be the scariest and largest spiders on earth, but nature has its reserves and has a match for these guys. The Tarantula Wasp Hawk can feed on even the largest tarantulas that ever exist, including the goliath bird-eating spider, fierce right? Read on as we unravel more mysteries about these guys.


Where does the Tarantula Wasp Hawks Live?

Even though being an insect, the fact that a living thing exists entails the fact that it must have a habitat, a place where it calls home, a place where it is most likely to be seen. Mark the word most, a person or even an insect can be seen in any place, but that doesn’t mean that is where it lives.

They live in a variety of deserted habitats including grasslands, arroyos (a dry creek or stream bed that temporarily or seasonally fills and flows after sufficient rain), and shrublands. They are mostly seen on the ground running around flowers, this is because the adults feed on the nectar found in these flowers helping in pollination and mating also occurs in these flowers.

Even though these species have wings, they are known for walking on forest grounds detecting chemical scents of their preys, The Tarantulas!!! so the tarantulas better get into hiding.


The Life Cycle of the Tarantula Wasp Hawks

As it is with the male mosquitoes not sucking blood but the female anopheles, so it is with the adult male Tarantula wasp hawks, they do not hunt for tarantulas but instead, feed on nectar from flowers while the females do the hunting. The males are known to defend small territories on tall trees and wait for female tarantula wasp hawks to pass by, and mating occurs.

After mating, the female wasp hawk sets out for hunting. Female tarantula wasp hawks are known to possess specialized art skills in hunting the tarantulas. The male tarantulas are known to live in burrows where they create webs for their prey to get trapped in, but this time the hunter becomes the hunted. The tarantula receives an unexpected guest, the Tarantula wasp! the female wasp hawk purposely walks into the web of the tarantula at the entrance of its burrow and this triggers it, but on plunging out to devour its prey it becomes the prey.

A fierce battle enrages between these two as they both plunge at each other. The tarantula is way bigger and stronger than the tarantula hawk, but these guys are known to possess stings that send paralyzing venoms into the body of their prey.

Once the tarantula has been paralyzed, the female wasp hawk drags it into its own burrow and doesn’t feed on it but does something even worse. It lays a single egg on the body of the paralyzed tarantula and seals the entrance of the burrow.

After the egg hatches, the emerging hawk larva feeds on the still-living paralyzed tarantula until it matures into a fully grown tarantula hawk. While feeding on its host it is careful not to feed on the vital organs of the tarantula so as to keep it alive for as long as possible. Cruel right? well, after about three weeks the now fully-grown wasp emerges from the burrow leaving the dead tarantula.

The male tarantula hawk is known to live for two months while the females live a little longer than that. The reproduction pattern of the wasp hawk makes it safe for the larva by keeping it away from other predators.


Tarantula Wasp Hawk Location

They live everywhere, in fact everywhere a tarantula is. They are most likely to be found in Africa, Australia, Asia, southern and northern US, South America and in the southwest deserts of the United States. These pests have been observed from as far north as Logan, Utah and south as far as Argentina, with at least 250 species living in South America.

They are found in every continent except Europe and Antarctica.


Tarantula Wasp Hawk Size

This pest is a very large wasp, in fact, it is the largest of its kind on earth. It can grow up to 2 inches, that is, 5mm in length. Its stingers are one of the most powerful and are known to be 7mm in length.


The Tarantula Wasp Hawk Sting

Tarantula hawk wasps are relatively docile and rarely sting without provocation even Wikipedia can confirm this. It normally uses its excruciatingly painful sting to disable the much larger tarantula. Only female Tarantula Hawk Wasps can sting, but its stinger is formidable and known to be as long as 7mm long but the males are harmless. These pests rarely sting unless it is disturbed or provoked. Because they tend to fly low and hunt along the ground for tarantulas, a person moving barefoot across a lawn without looking down could get stung by stepping on the wasp.


Tarantula Wasp Hawk Pictures

Below are pictures of the tarantula hawk;

tarantula wasp hawk
The Tarantula Wasp Hawk picture
The tarantula


Tarantula Wasp Hawk Nest

If you do see a wasp around your home, it is important to correctly identify it before taking steps for control. It is vital not to disturb wasps and best to leave them alone. Because social wasps do build nests and form colonies, it is more critical to ensure their removal by a professional, who will have the self-protection equipment as well as the chemicals and tools to properly and safely rid your home of the problem.


Tarantula Hawk Venom

Venoms are poisonous substance a pest possesses, this is what makes it dangerous once the sting. The tarantula hawk produces good amount of venom as the bite and their bite can be as intense, excruciating and high reactive as soon as it stings. However, research show that the tarantula hawk sting venom has the highest rank recorded in all stinging pest.



Finally, all questions have been answered. You have now become aware of everything you want to know about this pest.

You can now unfasten your seat belt and go on with your daily routine. But as mentioned earlier knowledge is the most vital fact in the world and we always want to know, if you’ll like to know more about the wasp hawk contact us to find out more.

Diaz David is my name, I'm a content editor and staff at pestclue. I will be updating you with all articles associated with healthy tips on this website.

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