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Information, insects and people from the 2019 BugGuide Gathering in Louisiana, July 25-27

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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.

Tarantula hawk wasp
I saw one of there's in my garden in San Rafael CA yesterday. Amazing looking, I've never seen anything like it. I'm glad I didn't know it was dangerous. There was just one.

Saw this in Brisbane California (just outside of San Francisco) at the base of San Bruno Mountain. Never saw one before. It had landed near me on on a bush and then immediately flew off and went into a half dead jasmine plant (landscaping from a business park) very low to the ground. It was crawling through the plant on to the ground. I had to stop watching it because one of the dogs I was with wanted to sniff what I was looking at. Wish I could have taken a picture.

Its a Beauty!
Saw one walking around my pool area in Napa, CA. Came in to Google black beetle with orange wings and this is what came up. Does this mean we have tarantulas? It was just walking around the cement, then walked into the bushes... left it alone.

Tarantula Hawk sighting
One of these beauties caught my eye in a woodsy area near my home in Castro Valley, CA this afternoon. Didn't know what it was but kept my distance while following it around since I suspected it was a wasp. It was Meandering within a small area occasionally trying to burrow in the dirt or go under leaves. Was fascinated by its size, curved antennae, and red wings contrasting against the black body. This is the first time in my 50yrs of living the Bay Area that I've seen one. Super cool looking insect!!

Tarantula Hawk
The kids and I were in the pool and saw one of these land on the rock. We are in Alpine California

I had an encounter with a Tarantula Hawk Wasp in Springville, Ca today 07/17/2016. Scared the day lights out of me and after reading about its sting I am
thankful it didn't sting me or my 2 year old grandson.

Tarantula Hawk Wasp Central California ,Woodlake
I saw this amazing bug while feeding stock. I am 56 and I have never seen this bug before. Are they scarce? I didn't see a stinger tho or I would have been more worried. AND I swear it was closer to three inches. :)

Tarantula Hawk sighting on Long Beach, CA school campus
We saw a tarantula hawk on our elementary school yard this morning. It was scouring though the grass looking for something in the ground for a good 20 minutes. I was close to 2 inches long with a black-bluish body and bright orange, almost red wings. Even though it was apparently a male who are far less dangerous than their female counterparts it was quite unsettling to see a tarantula hawk at a local elementary school campus.

Tarantula Hawk Wasp - Hawthorne, California
I just saw a tarantula hawk wasp in my backyard flying and crawling around quite rapidly on the lawn and around the base of some rosebushes. In all my 60+ years living in the Los Angeles / Hawthorne area, I have never seen such a wasp! Thanks to this website, I was able to identify it right away. This wasp is rather scary looking, but it's reassuring to know that it is not aggressive, unless bothered. Will cats go after tarantula hawk wasps or will cats avoid them? Can they sting a cat? I am hesitant to let my two curious cats outside with this wasp crawling around in the backyard. Thanks!

Tarantula Hawk Wasp
Saw one outside by my driveway a few minutes ago. It was walking in the dirt and looking in gopher holes. I followed it for a minute or so and then it stepped onto the cement of my driveway, spread its wings and flew off.

Tarantula Hawk just sighted in Imperial Beach, CA
Pepsis chrysothemis - We moved a crate in front of our house this morning and found this bug sitting in the corner. We had never seen anything like it before so I took some pics (which I would like to upload, but not quite sure how to do). It crawled up the wall a bit, then started walking toward our cat that jumped out of it's way very quickly. haha. It then flew away and we could see from a distance, since it was so large! So cool!

Tarantula Hawk/ Wasp- South Pasadena, CA
My 4 year old spotted one today in South Pasadena. It was flying and crawling just below a pomegranate tree and the wings matched the blossoms exactly. We could see the blue iridescence on the black body. It was gorgeous! We were chasing it around a bit trying to get a picture. Had no idea they could be dangerous. I guess that's what happens when you have a boy who likes bugs. Makes sense that they are around during butterfly season if they like nectar. Do we have tarantulas here?

Tarantual hawk / spider wasp
I was trimming my roses today and one landed on a rose, it was absolutely gorgeous--it had a royal blue body with orange wings and I was disappointed that I did not have my camera. I was disheartened to read that swhelen in Menifee, California, found it necessary to kill such a gorgeous insect. What a vast disparity, when it flew away, I thanked--whatever, for sharing such a wonderful insect with me. My husband died on January 14 and I would always take pictures and show him the various insects that I saw on our patio. When this spider wasp landed, it made my heart glad and I liked to have thought my husband sent it to make me happy--if only for a moment.

tarantula hawk wasp
Never saw one of these things before. HUGE bee. He was in the rocks in my back yard in Rio Rancho New Mexico.

tarantula Hawk wasp
I just saw one on my Firestick plant. He was crawling all over it. I got a few pictures but just might keep my distance now that I know thy have a nasty sting.

tarantula Wasp
My husband and I just saw and killed one of these in Menifee,CA. It's huge! The whole body is about 1 1/2" long. The stinger is about 1/2 of its body. Scary!

Tarantula wasps in Santa Barbara!
I've been doing a bit of hiking at Red Rock this summer and twice now I've run Into these HUGE BLUE wasps. The first encounter was with at least two dozen wasps grouped around a single bush. The second was a single wasp on its way into a hole in the ground. I'm pretty sure the ones in the group had a much lighter yellow color in their wings though, compared to the orange color in the wings of the solo wasp.

Pepsis seen in Menlo Park CA 8/2/15
It was very large and looking into holes in the dry ground. I believe the holes are made by native bees.

Wow, what is that?
One of these giant Tarantula Wasps was walking across my driveway this morning - I live in Henderson NV near the McCullough Mountain range. The one I saw was at least 3.5-4.0 inches long - Huge!! Not happy with the fact that Tarantula's may be nearby - posted 06.23.15

Tarantula Wasp Santa Ana, CA
I've had two of these wasps in my yard in the last month. The first one ranged about a 15ft sq section of my front yard. That was approximately 2-3 weeks ago.
The second was yesterday. I've lived here about 30 years and have never seen them before. This second one was also in my front yard.
I was within 5ft of them. They seemed to have no interest in me.
Of course I was not poking at them or throwing anything at them.

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.

Sting of this wasp - Pain and more pain
I haven't seen anyone saying they were stung by this wasp. Well, I was while sitting in my house watching TV two months ago - this is in
Wickenburg, AZ. Don't know how it got in my house, but the thing flew onto my neck, and shook me good. Buzzing sound was loud, so I knew it was a large bug - I hate bugs. I quickly swatted it away, only to feel this horribly sharp piercing pain - like a hot pin going into my lower thumb area. I've been stung and bit by all kinds of Bees and Wasps (even the giants in Mexico). But nothing matched this. Before finding what did this to me, I took two Benedryl's and put a soft cold pack over my thumb. The pain went on for 20 bad minutes, and it eventually traveled into my forefinger. It all lasted for only an hour, but did that rattle me. My wife found this odd black bug with orange/red wings - it was dead. I went to the computer and found out it was a Tarantula Hawk Wasp. I was very lucky, it was only 3/4 of an inch. Today at the golf course, I saw one that was 4X that size. You could hear its wings some twenty feet away - maybe more. I hope I never get stung by one of the big ones. Their venom is not harmful to humans, but can be terribly painful. It
will paralyze the unsuspecting Tarantula Spider, lay its eggs, and the young feast on their host - disgusting.

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.

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