4954 N. Shamrock Place, Tucson, AZ 85705

Tarantula Wasp

Pepsis spp.

Tarantula Wasp

Physical Features

Tarantula Wasp, often called Tarantula Hawk,  are large, black wasps with either black or orange wings.  They have large bodies over 2 inches long.  They have black antennae.

Life Cycle

Complete Metamorphosis
The female will hunt for a tarantula spider to serve as food for the larva.  She will sting the spider causing its permanent paralysis.  The spider (if not already inside of its burrow) will be dragged into the hole.  She will lay an egg on the spider and seal the burrow.  The larva will hatch attaching to the spider and sucks out the internal fluid over a period of several months.


  • Diet: A Nectivorous. Adults feed on nectar from fruit or flowers.
  • Activity: Dusk or nighttime
  • Preferred Climate: Dry, warm climates
  • Defense: Large size and aposematic markings
  • Cautions: Painful stings if agitated.

Helpful Hints

  • Relocate tarantulas if they are found on your property.
  • Ensure window and door screens are tightly sealed to avoid accidental entry into the home.

Interesting Facts

Roadrunners are predators of the Tarantula Wasp.


Rarely stings but if provoked it will.

Nesting Sites

  • Cracks and crevices
  • Gaps in structures, especially the foundation

Many times they will not create nests but burrow into the soil of the ground or use existing burrows.