Tarantula Hawk Wasp Appears in Yucaipa, CA

Tarantula Hawk Wasp PictureIn Yucaipa, California, local resident Tim O’Connor saw something big land on a fig leaf reports the Yucaipa News Mirror.

It was not just any insect or bird, but a two inch black wasp with big antennae which his wife researched and found to be the tarantula hawk wasp. According to Wikipedia, its sting is one of the most painful in the world.

As one might guess, the wasp’s victims are female tarantulas which are plentiful in certain areas of California. Gruesomely, the wasp doesn’t kill the tarantula but paralyzes it with its wasp sting.

Then, the wasp inserts and egg inside the abdomen of the furry spider and then seals it up. Once the egg hatches, the young wasp eats its way out and the tarantula dies.

The good news is that the tarantula hawk wasp’s sting is not deadly or poisonous for humans – just don’t pet one if you see it land in the trees.

Incidentally, the tarantula hawk wasp is the state insect of New Mexico according to Wikipedia.

September 4, 2008 – 12:33 pm
  1. 3 Responses to “Tarantula Hawk Wasp Appears in Yucaipa, CA”

  2. On 10/5/11 a lone tarantula hawk was discovered in a Murrieta fig tree eating the fruit. Even though the residents have lived in this rural area for over 30 years, this was the first citing on a tree they planted about 8 years ago. Other trees planted more recently are yet to bear crops.


    By Judith on Oct 6, 2011

  3. Tall Tail?

    When I was a young boy about (8 years old)1971, I lived in Mission Veijo, CA. These were the early days. Before the development north of Magaurite Pkwy, at La Paz Road, there was a wildernes area that went for what seemed to be forever. My friends and I would catch and identify all the insects we could find and post them on corkboard. I had never seen a tarantula wasp while out and about.

    One day I was playing with the hose near the curb at my father’s house about 1/2 mile from that wilderness area. I stuck the hose in the grass, and a mound began to rise under the grass.

    I heard this buzzing sound that was very very loud, and suddenly this HUGE Trantula Wasp, he seemed to be purple, but he was way bigger than two inches, maybe 4 times that size, with what seemed to be orange wings. It landed right on the mound of grass practically in my lap, stopped for a drink I guess and flew off. It was bigger than my foot.

    This is not the exageration of a small boy. I was in awe of this bug whatever it was, but it was so huge I’ll never forget it. I’ve never seen anything that big since that day, that had the same body type and color as the tarantula wasp. Can’t find photo’s of it anywhare where it was so huge.


    By Ken on Jun 22, 2012

  4. I live in rancho cucamonga, CA. we came in contact with the tranacula wasps a few times in our yards…. We have no spiders but the wasps we have. We found them in our yard… Why r they here?


    By Amanda on Jul 30, 2012

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