Tarantulas themselves give me the heebie jeebies, but what about a wasp that hunts and paralyzes these creepy crawlers. Now that would be a thing of nightmares, well guess what, they’re real! They are called Tarantula Hawk Wasps. These suckers can grow up to 2 inches in length making them one of the largest wasps in the world, and they have been found virtually everywhere across the planet.
These wasps are solitary insects that burrow a hole in the ground and wait for a spider to meander by. When one is unfortunate enough to do so, the wasp stings them which paralyzes it, then it drags the spider back to its burrow, lays an egg in it, and buries the spider. Once the egg hatches, the larvae chews a hole through the spider’s abdomen and slowly eats the spider, leaving its organs for last so that it stays alive. Once it becomes an adult it bursts out of the spider and tunnels out of the burrow to continue the cycle. Essentially, this the Alien movie but real and more fucked up because at least the alien baby had the courtesy to instantly kill it’s host.
The wasp becomes a more skilled hunter with the more experience that it gets, tricking its prey in multiple ways. They will even find a spider’s burrow and trick it into coming out by hitting the web. While these wasps are generally not aggressive towards anything but spiders they will attack if provoked, and you do NOT want to provoke them.
The Tarantula Hawk is known to have the second most painful sting of all insects, just behind that of a bullet ant. Schmidt who invented the Schmidt Pain Index was crazy enough to let one sting him and has described their sting as “blinding, fierce, shockingly electric. A running hair drier has been dropped into your bubble bath.” So clearly I am never going near one of these things for any reason, ever. The pain from the sting is only supposed to last about 3-5 minutes and the best way to deal with it is to drop to the ground and start screaming. This sounds like one of the bugs from those old ScyFy movies that kill you with one bite. The existence of these wasps prove that mother nature hates us and we should just stay inside at all times, unless we need food or beer.