Will Wasp Spray Kill A Spider (And Vice Versa)? Truth Revealed

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Camel Spider

Most people have bug sprays in their houses but typically don’t have a spray meant for spiders. So, will wasp spray kill a spider? Or do you have to buy a special spray for spiders instead? Let’s find out.

There are a lot of different techniques we use to keep away insects indoors. Using a strong spray, essential oils, and sometimes, simply running away as far as we can away from it! 

Now, if you are trying to kill spiders with sprays, there are a few ideas you can use. 

Today, let us tell talk about insecticide sprays and how effective they are in killing common household pests. 

Camel Spider
Wasp spray: will it kill a spider?

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What’s in Wasp Spray?

Most wasp sprays use pyrethroids cypermethrin and imiprothrin, two chemicals that directly affect a wasp’s nervous system. 

Since the chemicals have an impact on their nervous system, these sprays can also kill other insects like roaches and smaller bugs. 

When you spray a wasp killer on the insect, it paralyzes them, and you can see them drop from the air instantly. 

The aerosol form of the spray makes it easier to use anywhere in a house. 

Moreover, the spray also forms a thin layer everywhere you put it, which means it will keep protecting your house from other bugs that might come later.

Difference Between Spiders and Wasps Anatomically

Spiders have an open circulatory system, which means that their vital organs cannot be affected by chemicals directly. 

Wasps, on the other hand, are bugs that are directly affected by sprays. When you spray a wasp with any kind of insect killer, its organs will get damaged, and it will be paralyzed. 

Spiders only try to escape the strong smell of the chemicals. Their long legs help them to maintain distance from any sprays you put on a surface. 

For this reason, it is more difficult to kill a spider with insecticide than other bugs, like wasps. 

Will Wasp Spray Kill A Spider (And Vice Versa)? Truth Revealed
Wasps and spiders are fundamentally different

Will Wasp Spray Kill Spiders?

Most wasp sprays will work in the same way on spiders – directly by closing out their source of oxygen. They don’t work by affecting the nervous system of the spider.

Arachnids are more resilient than wasps when it comes to their bodies. They are built differently and are affected differently by the chemicals. 

Insecticide sprays have high chemical content that can burn anything if they are sprayed for a long time on any surface. For example, getting it on the skin could mean a lot of damage. 

When you spray it on spiders, it can burn their exoskeleton and slowly harm their vital organs. Moreover, it cuts off their oxygen supply and thus suffocates them. 

However, note that this method of killing a spider will take a long time and would still not do anything for the other spiders in your house.

Can Spiders Hold Their Breath When Sprayed?

Now, we did mention spiders suffocate to death with bug sprays. But there is an interesting fact about arachnids that you should know about. 

Spiders – and most other insects – do not actually breathe, so “holding their breath” is not the correct phrase to use. 

Spiders breathe through diffusion in their tracheal tubes, and they have respiratory organs called ‘book lungs’ that spread air in their circulatory system

When they are trying to get away from the bug spray, the spiders are only trying to escape the odor. Moreover, the spray can burn through their exoskeleton.

Spraying enough of the spray stops oxygen from entering their tracheal tubes, eventually causing death. But this will do nothing for other spiders that will come along after that.

Camel Spider
Spiders will ultimately die because they can’t breathe if you keep spraying the wasp killer on them

Will Ant Roach and Spider Killer Kill Wasps?

Ant, roach, and spider killer sprays are created with similar chemicals as wasp sprays, but since they are not specialized for the job, they will work slowly. 

The active ingredients in roach sprays are Imiprothrin, Cypermethrin, and Tetramethrin, along with the common Prallethrin and Permethrin. 

The last two compounds are the key to killing wasps, so make sure to check the ingredients of the spray you are buying. 

Will Spider Spray Kill Wasps?

Common spider sprays are not appropriate to use on wasps. This is especially important because wasps live in colonies and their nests are very hard to tackle. 

The spider killers containing paralyzing compounds can knock out the wasps but are not likely to kill them. If you happen to spray them, you should be on the lookout that they don’t start flying again. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I spray on a spider to kill it?

There are a few chemicals and household items that can be used to kill spiders. Insecticides formulated especially for them can be used in a spray form to kill spiders. 
You can make a mixture of vinegar, soda, and essential oils, which will help to deter them. Any strong-smelling substance can prove fatal to spiders. 

Does Raid spray kill spiders?

Raid hornet killer is used to kill wasps. It can kill spiders if used correctly. 
Make sure to shake the bottle before use, spraying it outdoors and avoiding any contact with the spray. For the spray to work on the spider, you have to spray on the spider directly. 
As we said earlier, it does not impact the nervous system of the spider but might kill it by filling up its tracheal tube and not letting in oxygen.

Will raid fly and wasp killers kill spiders?

If you are trying to use this spray on spiders, you have to make sure to spray it on the creature long enough. 
Spiders might suffocate because of a lack of oxygen, or else the spray might burn through their exoskeleton. However, this process will take some time.

Can insect spray kill spiders?

Insect spray will not work on spiders merely by spraying it on the walls or the floor. You have to spray it directly on the spider, and that too for a long time for them to work.
Normal insect killers are designed to impact the nervous system of the bug, but since spiders don’t have a similar circulatory system in their bodies, this method does not work.

Wrap Up

Wasp sprays don’t work on spiders, and neither is the reverse true. Both have completely different system of respiration and circulation, and their nervous system is also different.

Wasp spray might kill spiders by directly spraying it, but it usually takes a lot longer and does nothing for other spiders that might be roaming around your house.

If you have a spider in your house, we suggest you get a spray or insecticides designed specifically to kill them. Thank you for reading!

Reader Emails

Please go through some of the letters from our readers over the years that detail spider wasps that they have seen in their vicinity.

Whether a wasp spray will work on these is a question that has often been asked to us, and the answer is yes.

Letter 1 – Spider Wasp, possibly Tachypompilus species

 

Spiderman
Hey Bugman,
Any idea what this cool red and blue flying creature might be? I saw him dragging this huge dead spider across my driveway. Is it possible that it made the kill?
Todd

Hi Todd,
First the Spider Wasp did NOT make the kill. The spider is alive. The spider is paralyzed. The spider will become food for the young wasp. The female wasp will provision a nest with spiders that are stung and paralyzed and then lay an egg. The egg hatches and begins to feed on the still living spider, a fresh food source. We are not sure of the species, but have located what looks like your wasp on BugGuide. It is listed as the genus Tachypompilus. We have put in a query to a real expert, Eric Eaton for substantiation.

Ed. Note: We just heard back from Eric Eaton who agrees: “VERY hard to tell from the image, but the prey (wolf spider) suggests that this is indeed Tachypompilus. One other possibility is Poecilopompilus, but they attack orb weavers, and I have not seen one with violaceous wings. So, yes, Tachypompilus. Eric “

Letter 2 – Spider Wasp from Peru

 

Tarantula Hawk Wasp?
December 4, 2009
This summer I was lucky enough to go to the Amazon. I stayed in a lodge about 2 hours downriver from the city of Iquitos, Peru. I saw an enormous amount of awesome bugs but one that stood out was a gigantic wasp. It must have been 2-3 inches (though I’m awful at estimating that stuff), definitely the most impressive hymenopterids I’ve ever seen.. I realize the biodiversity of the Amazon is mind blwing, but there can’t be too man wasps that size. Any help would be awesome (I’ve also got a big bright red assassin bug if you’re interested in a challenge).
Sebastian
Heliconia Lodge, about 2 hours downstream from Iquitos, Peru

Spider Wasp
Spider Wasp

Dear Sebastian,
We cannot say for certain that this is a Tarantula Hawk, but we are nearly certain it is a Spider Wasp in the family Pompilidae which includes the Tarantula Hawks.  Tarantula Hawks in the genus Pepsis are nearly always black with orange wings.  We will contact Eric Eaton to see if he agrees.


Spider Wasp
Spider Wasp

Letter 3 – Spider Wasp from China

 

Robust Orange Wasp Sichuan
February 18, 2010
Dear Daniel,
I saw this striking well built wasp last summer in Sichuan province, SW China. This is my third submitted photo so I hope you have no objection to repeated requests for identifications? (I have many more where this came from which I thought I might submit in dribs and drabs if that was ok).
Anyway I was wondering if it was a type of digger wasp or spider wasp as these groups seem to have quite robust looking species like this one which I estimate was about 3cm long.
The habitat was forest 600-900m.
Any help with ID much appreciated.
Thanks
Ed
Sichuan, China

Spider Wasp

Hi Ed,
We agree that this looks like a Spider Wasp in the family Pompilidae, but there is not much easily available information on insects from China.  We may eventually be able to provide a species identification for this beauty.

Letter 4 – Spider Wasp from Singapore, we believe

 

is this some kind of a fly? or bee?
Location: Singapore
March 1, 2011 12:29 am
Please ID this insect for me..
thanks you very much.. 🙂
have a nice day!
this site rocks!
Signature: na

Spider Wasp, we believe

Dear na,
We believe this may be a Spider Wasp in the family Pompilidae, and although BugGuide deals strictly with North American species, the family description includes the following identifying features:  “Typically dark colored with smoky or yellowish wings; a few are brightly colored.  Slender with long and spiny legs, hind femora typically extending beyond tip of abdomen.  Tibiae of rear legs have two prominent spines at apex (distal end, next to tarsi)   Wings not folded flat on top of abdomen.
Mesopleuron with a transverse suture  Like the Vespidae, the Pompilidae have the pronotum extending back to the tegulae, the pronotum thus appearing triangular when viewed from the side and horseshoe-shaped when viewed from above.”  The prominent spines on the rear legs are quite obvious in your photos.  Your very minimal identification request does not provide us with any information on the sighting.  It appears that you must have observed this individual for some time since you have photographs on two different backgrounds.  We can’t help but to wonder what the Spider Wasp is carrying in its jaws.  Spider Wasps provision a nest with paralyzed spiders, but the wadded up material in the Wasp’s mandibles appears to be something else.  We would request that in the future, you provide us with some observational information at the time of the submission so that your requests would be of greater interest to our readership.


Spider Wasp

Letter 5 – Spider Wasp from Singapore

 

Subject: Asian Wasp/Hornet with Orange Legs
Location: Singapore
April 13, 2013 8:50 pm
I’m surprised I couldn’t find any reference to this wasp online as it’s a very striking insect. It was eating voraciously on these white flowers. It has long orange legs and a bluish/violet tint to its wings. There were about 6 wasps in this group feeding on this particular plant.
Signature: David

Spider Wasp
Spider Wasp

Hi David,
In our opinion, this appears to be a Spider Wasp in the family Pompilidae.  There is a list of identifying features on BugGuide, and this description of the leg fits your photographs:  “Slender with long and spiny legs, hind femora typically extending beyond tip of abdomen.
Tibiae of rear legs have two prominent spines at apex (distal end, next to tarsi).”

Spider Wasp
Spider Wasp

Spider Wasps often visit flowers in search of nectar, and female Spider Wasps prey upon Spiders to provide food for her brood.

Spider Wasp
Spider Wasp

 


Letter 6 – Spider Wasp from India

 

Subject: Unknown Wasp
Location: Gujarat, India
February 5, 2017 5:16 pm
Hello Sir,
I have been a fan of your website since long and it has helped me in a lit of ways. You encourage me to identify animals around me and it helps me get to know them better. I am currently graduating from zoology and you have a fair bit of share in it. I mostly search and find the species of the animal but i found one particular wasp like creature lurking in my garden . I kept you as my final option. I guess we cant identify all. I hope you help me out like you always do. Thank you.
Season : Start of Spring
Location : India
PS- The pictures may not be that much clear coz i took it with a 5MP camera.
Signature: Rajrajeshwar

Spider Wasp from India

Dear Rajrareshwar,
This appears to be a Spider Wasp in the family Pompiliidae.  Here is a similar looking Spider Wasp from India on FlickR.  The female Spider Wasps hunts and paralyzes Spiders to feed to her brood.

Spider Wasp

Letter 7 – Spider Wasp from South Africa

 

Subject:  Spider wasp
Geographic location of the bug:  Wilderness, South Africa
Date: 03/08/2020
Time: 02:47 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Thank you for posts that helped us to identify this wasp in our garden today. It was carrying a spider and defended its catch aggressively
How you want your letter signed:  Debbie

Spider Wasp

Dear Debbie,
This is indeed a beautiful Spider Wasp, but alas, we don’t see the Spider.  It looks very similar to this beauty in our archives.

Letter 8 – Spider Wasp from Panama

 

Subject:  Tarantula hawk?
Geographic location of the bug:  Highlands of Chiriqui, Rep of Panamá
Date: 07/07/2020
Time: 04:21 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We saw this approx 2 inch wasp? scuttling across a spare lot on our community today. We do see tarantulas reasonably often and wondered if it was a female hunting for a host. Is there any way to differentiate between a male or female? Never seen another one in our 8 years in Panamá, the colours looked beautiful in the sunshine. Thanks, Carol
How you want your letter signed:  Carol

Spider Wasp

Hi Carol,
We are very confident this is a Spider Wasp in the family Pompilidae, but we cannot state for certain that it is a Tarantula Hawk.  Your individual resembles this image posted to FlickR.  The hunting behavior you witnessed indicates this is likely a female.  Males do not hunt for spiders, and they can generally be found nectaring.

Spider Wasp

Letter 9 – Spider Wasp might be Calopompilus pyrrhomelas

 

Subject:  Not sure what kind of bug this is?
Geographic location of the bug:  Airway Heights,WA
Date: 09/27/2021
Time: 05:37 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi my co worker and I were wondering what kind of bug this is? We found it outside of our work which is in airway heights,off the geiger blvd exit.
How you want your letter signed:  Hillary&Celeste

Spider Wasp possibly Calopompilus pyrrhomelas

Dear Hillary & Celeste,
This is a Spider Wasp and it sure looks like a Tarantula Hawk, and when we began research, we discovered
Calopompilus pyrrhomelas on BugGuide and learned that it preys on a species of Trapdoor Spider.

 

Authors

  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

    View all posts
  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

    View all posts
Tags: how to kill spiders, wasp spray for spiders, Wasps

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9 Comments. Leave new

  • This wasp is Pepsis aurozonata, one of several very handsome members of the sumptuosa group, known for having the body adorned with iridescent gold or bronze tomentum. With 133 known species in the genus Pepsis, a great deal of variation and even mimicry is present between groups.

    Reply
  • That’s great sleuthing Daniel thank you so much. If I can track down the exact ID I’ll update this post. I didn’t realise only females hunted wasps.

    PS. You might want to update the subject. Singapore isn’t part of China. 🙂

    Reply
  • Auplopus sp.
    Family Pompilidae, subfamily Pepsinae.

    Reply
  • Auplopus sp.
    Family Pompilidae, subfamily Pepsinae.

    Reply
  • Thank You So much…Really appreciate your help and all the hardwork…

    Reply
  • My daughter and I just seen this bug on the small walk to our porch. Almost the exact look of the picture shown on here. I had just went to get bleach to spray them both and upon my return, my daughter said that the flying bug was dragging the big furry spider. We watched it pull it to the grass and up the side of our home. It was kind of amazing to witness, except that some baby spider(s) no longer have a parent. Good thing, it won’t come into our home.

    Reply

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