Spider Wasp from Idaho

Subject:  Black wasp with orange wings
Geographic location of the bug:  In Genesee id
Date: 10/13/2018
Time: 09:21 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hey, so I have never seen one of these before… Google said it is a tarantula wasp??? Just curious what it is…
How you want your letter signed:  Shara cook

Spider Wasp

Dear Shara,
Tarantula Hawks are Spider Wasps in the genera
Pepsis and Hemipepsis that prey on Tarantulas, and according to BugGuide data, the latter genus is not found as far north as Idaho, and similarly, BugGuide data on the genus Pepsis also shows a more southern range.  Other Spider Wasps have similar coloration.  Your individual might be Calopompilus pyrrhomelas which is pictured on BugGuide and reported from Idaho based on BugGuide data.

Are they dangerous, or like a normal sting or bite?   I picked it up with a leaf , and put it in the sun.   It was cold on my porch.

Spider Wasps are not aggressive towards humans, and Tarantula Hawks are reported to have very painful stings.  Since your individual is also a member of the tribe Pepsini that includes Tarantula Hawks, it might also have a painful sting.  Again, Spider Wasps are not aggressive, but they can sting.

4 thoughts on “Spider Wasp from Idaho”

  1. Very good call on Calopompilus pyrrhomelas from Idaho (10/13/2018 by Shara Cook). Certainly not an easy call to make. I’ve seen records from Pocatello, Idaho for Entypus (formerly Priocnemioides) aratus and E. unifasciatus. Have you seen any other records for these two species of Entypus from Idaho? Thanks.

  2. I saw a large (one & a third inch long by a third inch diameter and third inch long stinger) solid black wasp with orange/red wings in my yard in Coeur d’ Alene Idaho on September 7 2019. It was bigger than any wasp I’ve ever seen in 63 years as a North Idaho native. I stepped on it three times with my sandals in the grass and it was still trying to get away. Tough as well as huge.

  3. Saw one in my yard today hunting a spider. About 2CM long half cm wide all black. Fairly small compared to hornets or other wasps I’ve seen. He was hunting a spider that was running for terrified. Pretty sure we have them nesting above the door to our house as Ive seen them drag things in the holes of the liner. Very cool to see him tracking the spider. (Spider was a hobo and running very fast.) Wasp was about the same size a bit slimmer.


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