Tarantula Hawk: Facts, Bites & How to Get Rid of them

A tarantula hawk is a wasp spider that eats tarantulas. The native species are 4 cm long which makes them the largest wasps. They have black and blue bodies. Their wings are quite bright in color. However, some species have black wings with blue dots. The colors which are present on the bodies specifically wings of these spider wasps are known as aposematism. These insects are potential predators because they have a powerful sting. They have long legs which have hooked claws. With the help of hooked claws, they grasp their victims.

Behavior and Communication

The female tarantula hawk wasp attacks the tarantulas and paralyzes them with their powerful sting. After paralyzing them, these predators drag up their prey to the brooding nest where they have placed an egg placed on the spider’s abdomen. Fertilization is used to determine the sex of the larvae. The unfertilized eggs only make males while the fertilized eggs make females.

Reproduction and Lifecycle

Group of Tarantula hawks on flower
Source: https://undark.org

When the larvae of the wasp hatches then it makes a hole in the spider’s abdomen and then enters and feeds keenly. It avoids the primary organs to keep the spider alive for a longer period. After some weeks, the larvae pupate. In the end, the wasp turns out into an adult and comes out from the spider’s abdomen to run the life cycle.

Habitat, Diet & Predators

The adult tarantula hawks are quite aggressive. At times, these species get intoxicated because of the fermented fruit. Due to this reason, they are not able to fly properly. These wasps are more active in the daytime yet they avoid going into the hot climate. The male tarantula hawks do not do hunting as they only feed on the flowers of the milkweeds. Likewise, females feed on these flowers. It has been observed in the males’ behavior that they do hill topping. They sit at the top of the plants and see those females that are set to reproduce. Females are not violent, yet they hesitate to bite.

【Read more about Bite】


These wasps might live for numerous years. Most of the species take two to four years to become an adult. However, some species might take up to 10 years to get mature. When the males reach full maturity, they only have to 1 to 2 years left to live. They right away start their search of a female with which they need to mate. The females continue to molt after getting adult while males don’t.


The females produce 40 to 2000 eggs in a silken sac of egg and protect this sac for at least seven weeks. The number of eggs depends on the species of these wasps. In these seven weeks, the females stay very close to the sac of egg and turn out to be very aggressive to guard it. Some female specimen becomes the sac of eggs which is known as brooding. It saves the eggs from any deformation because of sitting for a long time. The young spider lings stay in the nest for quite some time after the hatching process. They can easily live on their remaining yolk of sac before scattering.

Tarantula Hawk Sting

The sting of tarantula hawk is known as the most painful sting in the entire world. However, the pain only stays for a couple of minutes. Only a few numbers of people are stung by tarantula hawks. They have said that it was extremely painful that one cannot do anything but shout. Some animals eat these insects like the roadrunner. The majority of animals usually avoid eating tarantula hawks due to their harmful sting. Some insects look like tarantula hawks.

Tarantula hawk wasp on ground
Source: http://www.mnn.com/

1. How Does It Feel Being Stung By A Tarantula

Numerous human victims of tarantula hawks have mentioned that their sting is very hurting. The pain is so severe that the no one can keep itself calm or uphold common coordination. It is next to impossible to keep the mind in control to avoid any accidental injury. Screaming is the most satisfying thing one can do after getting stung by the tarantula. Screams assists in reducing the attention to the pain of that sting. However, chances are very lower that any person would get stung by the tarantula.

2. Tarantula Venom

The tarantula hawk venom is not so poisonous because it does not cause death to humans. Humans will only have to bear the pain of the sting, but within few minutes, the pain will be relieved on its own. There are no certain consequences people will have to face when they get stung by these spider wasps. In the light of most cases, the hairs and fangs do not trigger long term damage. Their venom is only dreadful for the tarantulas.

3. How To Treat The Sting

If you do not have any interest in finding tarantula hawks, you are not at risk to get stung by the spiders. You will also not be able to face the frustrating contact of spider hairs. If a tarantula hawk bites you, then you would only feel like you are dealing with hurtful nettle.

You should try the following things to treat the bite correctly:

  • You have to wash the site with antibacterial soap and pure water to reduce the possibility of getting infection.
  • You can also apply a cold compress. An ice cube might assist you to persuade deadness and decrease swelling as well.
  • You can use topical cortisone or Benadryl cream on the site to reduce swelling.

How To Get Rid Of Tarantula Hawk Wasps

Tarantula hawk wasps hunt on the tarantulas, however, they might attack humans to protect themselves. It is not good to stay with these wasps. If you find any tarantula hawk at your place then it is imperative to get rid of it at once. Try these things on for size:

1. Put on Protective Clothing

You require to put a protective cloth on you. This protective clothing might include thick fabric, boots, gloves, cap or a muffler to cover up the face. At daytime, these wasps are active, so you try to kill them in the nighttime. At night, they stay in their nests and are inactive. You have to get all the tools that are helpful. Use these tools if you do not want them to rush under your heels. Identify the nest location of these wasps in the daytime. At night, capture these creepy wasps with the help of your tools.

2. Use Insecticide Dust

Using insecticide dust to get rid of Tarantula hawk
Source: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/

You have to put insecticide dust at the entry way to the nest but only in the ground. You have to cover the entrance rapidly with the help of moist soil and stop the wasps from getting away. After that, you have to wait for one or two days to let all wasps die before they dig another nest out from the ground but leave the first one.

There is an alternative for nests present underground. You can pour a little fuel on the entryway and cover it with the wet soft towel. Doing that, fumes would be able to keep the wasps inside. You need to dig and take out the nest from the ground. Within just one or two days, you can get rid of it.

3. Spray the Hanging Nest with Resmethrin, and then Dust it

The method to deal with the hanging nests is a bit different. You have to find the nest in the day hours. In the evening, you have to spray the hanging nest with the resmethrin. After that, you have to dust resmethrin along with the insecticide dust like the Sevin dust. You might have to cover the entryways of the nest with the steel wool. However, first, you have to put insecticide dust on the steel wool. You need to wait for a few days to ensure that all wasps that have returned to the nest are killed. After ensuring, you can put the nest away.

4. Create Traps at Home for Tarantula Hawk Wasps

You can make traps for these wasps at home for having a solution free from a chemical. Cut out the top of the liter bottle. Now you have to turn it vertically without the cap. After that, put it in the bottle which comprises a shape of a funnel. You can fill up the trap halfway to the opening of the bottle with the soda of citrus flavor like the mountain dew. It is time to some drops of the dish soap. Put this trap close to the nests and watch that the wasps are drawing near to the sugariness of soda.

Fun Facts

There are some interesting facts about these tarantula hawks which many people are not aware of. Following are some of the fun facts about wasps:

  • They have eight eyes but are not able to see well.
  • They can bite, but their venom is not harmful to humans.
  • Female tarantula hawks can live up to 40 years of age.
  • They can also survive in water for up to 3 years.

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