pepsis wasp attacking a tarantula

Tarantula Versus Wasp: A Battle in Arizona

The tarantula is a formidable sight. With a leg span ranging from three to five inches, its sheer size and horror movie-worthy looks should be enough to send potential predators packing. But there’s one creature that isn’t afraid of the giant spiders: the tarantula hawk wasp. In fact, tarantulas are a food source for these large wasps with bright orange wings. If you thought a tarantula was scary, just wait until you learn about the tarantula hawk. Don’t worry though, Arizona Exterminating always has your back.

One of the Most Painful Stings in the World

Reaching up to 1.75 inches in length, these wasps are pretty intimidating. And you should be afraid if you encounter one. The sting of the female tarantula hawk wasp tops the Schmidt sting pain index, a scale measuring the pain caused by various stinging insects’ attacks. The pain lasts only two to three minutes, but that brief time is likely to be one of the most excruciating periods you’ll ever endure.

How a Tarantula Hawk Wasp Feeds its Larvae

The good news is the tarantula hawk wasp isn’t aggressive–although the tarantula might disagree. Also known by the names Pepsis wasp and Pepsis formosa, this wasp attacks the tarantula only to provide food for its offspring. The Pepsis wasp lures the tarantula from its burrow by disturbing its web. She flips the spider, stings its underside and brings it back into the tarantula’s burrow. She then lays an egg on the tarantula and seals off the burrow. The larva that hatches eats the spider alive, starting with nonessential organs to prolong its life.

When to Call Arizona Exterminators

Tarantulas are far less frightening than their number-one predator, the tarantula hawk wasp. In fact, many people have these spiders as pets. But be wary, if you start seeing many tarantula burrows, it could attract the Pepsis wasp. Although the wasps have an incredibly painful sting, they won’t use it unless handled. So, if you see a Pepsis wasp or its nest, be very cautious. It’s important to note that the same Pepsis wasp is unlikely to return to the same spot twice, as they search for another tarantula. You can reduce your risk of seeing these unsightly creatures on your property by eliminating the tarantula population. Call in Arizona Exterminating to treat for tarantulas or other dangerous spiders you may find on your property.

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