Tarantula hawks swarming
I stumbled across your website while trying to research an odd event – swarming tarantula hawks (red and black winged). There are several hundred that appear to be indulging in the mesquite bloom-stalks in two trees in my yard. I’ve never seen more than 1 or 2 at a time and couldn’t find any information about nesting, hive/colony, or swarming. I’m also curious about a very large insect that looks like an oversize hornet. Measuring straight from nose to tail it’s 1 and 3/8″ long. Sorry about the fuzzy picture, I couldn’t focus close enough. thanks!
Tucson, AZ

Hi Rob,
Tarantula Hawks are solitary wasps and do not swarm. They are nectar feeding wasps and large numbers were attracted to the bounty of blooms in your yard. We have witnessed large numbers of Tarantula Hawks, but not hundreds, attracted to milkweed blooms. Your other wasp is too blurry to identify, but we suspect a Scarab Hunter in the genus Campsomeris.

Update: (06/05/2007)
Daniel: Can you please pass my contact information to Rob, the man in Tucson with all the tarantula hawk wasps? 🙂 I would love to go over and collect a few. He may have several species in his yard. Thank you SO-O-O-O much for this. Eric

Location: Arizona

4 Responses to Tarantula Hawks too numerous to count

  1. jobeth plummer says:

    The Tarantula Hawks do something like swarming. I live on a ranch in West Texas, we have a fish pond behind the house that is probably a half an acre. The house is surrounded by trees. There were literally THOUSANDS of Tarantula Hawks buzzing the house and pond today. They covered whole trees, completely covered the windmill pipe that goes to the pond, it was an invasion to be sure. They were not aggressive but somewhat intimidating. It was like Alfred Hitchcocks ‘The Birds’, only with Tarantula Hawks.

    • bugman says:

      We imagine that populations might spike during years when there is a ready food supply. Thanks for the fascinating comment.

  2. Oliver Zuniga says:

    I saw a swarm in Costa Rica once. Probably 100 of them in one place. Metallic blue and the sound was impressible low pitch, (reminded me of the electric effect used in the sound of light sabers).

  3. Janna says:

    I came across this post while looking up a swarm currently in my front yard on a flowering bush. There are probably about 30-50 at any given time. Everything I read up to this point said they were solitary. I do have pictures and video if you are interested.

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