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Large Black Wasp with Orange-Red Wings - Pepsis

Large Black Wasp with Orange-Red Wings - Pepsis
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, USA
June 9, 2006
Size: 1.75 inches or larger
My son and I saw this wasp-like insect while hiking in Bryce Canyon, Utah, on June 9, 2006 at about noon. It flew in front of us, then landed near the trail. The body was nearly two inches long and it had orange-red wings.

Pepsis - Tarantula Hawk Wasp
Just had one of these land about 3' from me on the leaf of a potted hibiscus on my patio in North Las Vegas...never seen anything like this in North Carolina. I thought it was a good time to come inside!

New Braunfels, TX outside San Antonio
We just moved into our new house and came across one of these first we were fascinated by the tarantula until we figured out who the prey was!!

Tarantula Hawk spotted in Flagstaff
I was sitting outside and a very large black hornet-shaped bug with orange wings landed about 15 ft. away from me. I had never seen one before and wasn't about to get any closer. This thing was HUGE! Easily 3 inches in length and when it hit the pavement on landing it sounded like a "smack". One of my co-workers called it a Tarantula Hawk. Wow!

Scary Big
I live by the Superstition Mountains in Apache Junction, AZ. I have 2 very bright porch lights so I can watch all the odd bugs and animals at night. For the past 2 days I have had a bunch of these big beauties all over my porch. I have these large black/metallic blue with orange winged ones and I also have a smaller all black/metallic blue species. I don't know what is going on this year but I never see more than one or 2 tarantula hawks per year.

Trantula Hawk
We are in Anaheim, CA, on of these wasp was in our back yard. While very unusual it is also a little scary.

What I thought it was.


another one in San Antonio
serious drought here... just planted lasagna gardens... watering seems to be the attraction. so maybe the water brings the spiders out. wish i could bring it in the house... just to hunt spiders, of course!

Big Black Orange winged wasp
I found one of these yesterday in Modesto, Ca. bad thing it was dead, but even in death Big and Beautiful. Sure would like to see a live one.

Orange Winged Wasp
They are in Pahrump NV...45 minutes north west of Las Vegas. This is the first year I have seen so many of them. Question: Do they sting or bite? Are they poisonous? They fly thru my yard every afternoon, sometimes landing in my trees. What does their nest look like? Do they burrow into the trees or dirt? I would like any information someone might have. Thanks.

Trantula Hawk Info
Yes, they do sting. The venom is only serious if you're allergic, but the sting is VERY painful. While I don't have direct answers to your all your questions, some simple internet searches can reveal tons! Also, take a look at some fascinating YouTube videos that others have posted. One shows this insect fighting with a tarantula at: ......enjoy!

Excellent Tarantula Hawk information
This is a very good article I found while looking for information on the wasp. I found one in my house a day ago, they make a VERY large buzz when flying. The article gives information about the wasp, its' sting (one of only 2 insects in north america that get a 4 on a the pain scale of 1-4. Incredibly painful according to the article.) and a host of other things. It includes a movie of the wasp in action. Article by David B. Williams in Desert USA.

Just saw one in San Antonio, Texas
One of these guys was hanging onto my windshield wiper this morning on the way into work. He held on the entire way, battling 65mph winds! I guess he just needed a lift across town.

These things are huge!
I live in West Texas, and these things started showing up around the time we got an above ground pool. I've never seen them before in my life, and was really startled the first time one showed up! But they never bother us. They always look like they're looking so intently for something, and it's good to finally know what it is! I'm sure they find plenty of spiders out here!

Tierrasanta, San Diego, CA
They've shown up in San Diego. I saw a lone one in the yard Sunday and Monday. Body was about 1.25 inches long with beautiful long orange wings.

i seen 30 plus of these awesome wasp at a trail in Highland all over the flowers..they didnt even pay attention 2 me at all. They are huge and very beautiful.When they fly they have like long legs that hang when in flight and they resemble a dragon fly as for their wings.

Hillsborough, CA
I'm 20 miles south of San Francisco in the heart of the Bay Area. These guys are everywhere. All I have to do is step outside and I'm guaranteed to see a few...very neat looking things. At first I thought about calling an exterminator to find out where they're coming from but they don't bother me.

Sighted one today in Trabuco Canyon, CA
We were able to get quite close and observe it. It appeared very intelligent and reacted to our movements very clearly. It's flight was slow and wandering.

Sighted one today in Trabuco Canyon, CA
We were able to get quite close and observe it. It appeared very intelligent and reacted to our movements very clea

Found one Livermore CA
Smashed it, thought it was a queen ant.. So ive heard if you kill the queen they go away.. Ooops sorry little guy!

FOUND ONE los angeles CA
At first me and my brother thought we had discovered a new species hahaha one could dream...but ya it was in our back yard crawling on the floor around our mandarina tree...i loved its orange red wings and its huge antennas adorable...i caught it to observe it for a bit and let it go

tarantula hawk
i just saw a tarantula hawk drag a tarantula about 50 feet in about a minute, i thought it was so cool that i called everyone out of my house to look at it...they think im nuts, but i love nature!

we have one that likes it at our house. i live in a walnut field outside of winters, ca. just east of san francisco.

Sighting in Haiti
I live outside of Port-au-Prince, Haiti in a desert area. I have seen these insects around here for a long time but never knew what they were.

Pepsis Tarantula Hawk (Wasp large, black w/orange wings)
Ramona, California in San Diego County: I captured one of these large black wasps with orange wings yesterday in the yard. It was walking on a boulder. Back in the summer of 2006, I had seen an imposing soldier-like column of these marching out of the sagebrush across an open dirt field and into my vegetable garden, where they seemed to be swarming on the Borage plants in bloom. I suppose there must have been spiders there, although I didn't see any. The wasps flexed their wings plenty, but I never saw one fly. Two years ago, there must have been hundreds of them in a straight line. Yesterday, I only saw one.

I was happy to see another wasp this month as I was most interested in identifying the thing. I, too, noticed that it seemed very unperterbed by me, and walked right into the glass container I put in front of it. Was sure glad to find this website and learn that it is the tarantula hawk. Lots of spiders for him to eat where we live.

tarantula hawk
i just saw a tarantula hawk drag a tarantula about 3 times its size 50 feet in about a minute. i called everyone out of my house to see it, they think im nuts...but i just love nature!

Moving to Guide.
Moving to guide page for Pepsis.

This is a Pompilidae wasp, the common name 'tarantula hawk" referes to their prey - spiders. The sting of these wasps is extremely painful, but they only sting when you try to hold them, they are never agressive...

I've never seen one with orange wings before. Is this color variant or a different species?

Thanks for the information. It did seem very uninterested in us, and moved fairly slowly when walking on the ground. We were startled at first, when it flew in front of us, but not to the point where I didn't want to take a picture.

Are they in AZ, too?
I saw something that looked just like this on June 17 in Maricopa/Pima county in AZ. It paid no attention to me. It was intently hunting for something in the grass in my back yard -- at the time, I didn't know what. Judging from your comment, I suppose it was probably hunting spiders.

They are all over the SW. And
They are all over the SW. And the smaller members of the family (hunting small spiders) are way up into Canada...

Pepsis sp.
We have Pepsis formosa here in Colorado Springs: Formidable insect.


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