Subject: Un-identified flying bug
Location: Boise, Idaho
August 2, 2016 7:19 pm
My wife spotted this bug carrying a large wolf spider up the inside wall if the sprinkler valve box. The spider was still twitching which has lead me to believe this was the killer. I live in Boise Idaho. This was seen today August 1st. Sorry the photos are lousy, I didn’t dare get closer.
Despite the poor quality of your images, this Spider Wasp, Tachypompilus ferrugineus, is quite recognizable. The reason the Wolf Spider was still twitching is that it is still alive. This Spider Wasp will not be eating this Wolf Spider. Like most wasps, Spider Wasps feed upon nectar from flowers and other sweets like overly ripe fruit. This living Wolf Spider has been paralyzed so that it can provide a living food source, meaning fresh meat, for the larva that hatches from the egg the Spider Wasp will lay on the Wolf Spider once she has dragged it to the underground nest she has excavated. According to MOBugs: “The females of this species are expert spider hunters. They seek large species of spiders such as wolf spiders to paralyze. They will sting the spider with a fast acting venom designed to subdue their prey, but not kill it. She will then drag the unfortunate victim to a safe spot and secret it away out of sight. She will then lay her eggs on the spider and leave to hunt for more victims. It takes a few days for the eggs to hatch and during that time the spider will remain very much alive, just in a constant state of paralytic motionlessness. When the eggs hatch they will feed on the spider so lovingly provided for it by its mother. ”
Sounds horrible! Thanks for the quick reply.