Unknown Bug
Location: Los Angeles County California
November 24, 2010 12:07 pm
Why type of bug insect is this?
Signature: The Bug Guy

Tarantula Hawk

Dear Bug Guy,
Since we offer a free service on the internet, we feel that we also have the prerogative to occasionally step up on a soap box and promote our own agenda when the mood strikes.  Your letter struck a note with us.  We pride ourselves on being able to create a dialog on the internet that promotes tolerance and appreciation of the lower beasts, but dialog is a two way street.  You have provided us with the barest of essentials required on our online form, and you did not provide any information to whet the appetites of our readership.  Upon reading your email submission, we know only that you found something in Los Angeles and you want to know what it is.  In the interest of sharing information, please provide us with some actual content.  What were the circumstances surrounding this sighting?  Was this lovely creature sighted in the city, or in a park, or perhaps in your own yard?  How was it behaving?  Was it aggressive?  Was it on November 24, or did you finally decide to try to identify a creature you photographed in the summer of 2004?  With all due respect Bug Guy, you didn’t give us much yet you want an answer.  We believe this Spider Wasp is a Tarantula Hawk, but the group does need some revision and research.  The genera
Pepsis and Hemipepsis are both known as Tarantula Hawks.  BugGuide has much information on the genus page for Pepsis, including:  “Genera Pepsis and Hemipepsis have identical biology and are not distinguishable in the field. They are discussed here together under Pepsis, though there is a brief account for Hemipepsis.  These wasps are reputed to have a very powerful sting, though they are not aggressive.”  Tarantula Hawks are considered Spider Wasps in the family Pompilidae, and there may be other species in the family that resemble Tarantula Hawks.

Tarantula Hawk

Thanks for the response. I,m sorry, but I am not an insect enthusiast. The intent of my inquiry was exactly that, “What type of bug is this”. I have lived in Southern California all my life (49 Years) and have never seen such an interesting creature.
This particular insect was spotted by me on Wednesday November 24, 2010 approximately 1:30 PM in Castaic California in front of my garage door. I was walking out to my car when I saw it hanging to the stucco. I became very interested in it because I had never seen anything like it. I went into the house I got my digital camera decided to take some pictures of it. When I came back outside it was on the concrete and walking along the length of the garage door. I walked awkwardly and some what wobbly like a beetle. I got a piece of cardboard and picked the insect up by sliding the cardboard under it. It never tried to fly away and nor was it aggressive. I moved it to a planter area because I did not want it to get stepped on or ran over.
That particular day was cool and Windy. I just wanted to know if this was a rare species for the area I live in.
Thank-You for the prompt response.
Craig Thompson

Thank you so much for providing us with additional information, and please don’t think of us as monsters after our first response.  You might want to try to read more about Tarantula Hawks because they are truly warriors in the insect world to be able to sting and incapacitate a Tarantula to provide the nourishment needed for the larval wasp to develop and mature.

Location: California

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