Just a Neighborhood BUG!

tarantula hawk 002

Keeve brought this up to me while I was sewing in the loft….. a comfy, little plastic home for his new bug.  A gigantic bug with red wings.  Of course he asked me what it was.  “I have no idea!”  I suggested looking up “red winged beetle” on google.  He couldn’t find it.  So Austin and Keeve sat at the kitchen table inspecting the big bug (and shaking the container, of course).  They did this for a long time and were very observant while noting the ‘bum movements’ and the pincers on the head.

Later last night we mentioned the big bug with red wings and my brilliant niece, Whitney, said, “OH!  I think that is a tarantula hawk wasp!”  She’s so smart.  So we looked THAT us on google and BINGO!  It is.

Aren’t the antennae in perfect curly-ques?  This is a nice photo by Paul Nylander (almost Nikander, my maiden name).  This bug is obviously dead because one of the traits of this tarantula hawk wasp is that they have a sting rated among the most painful in the insect world.  I found this enlightening explanation from a man who was stung, “…immediate, excruciating pain that simply shuts down one’s ability to do anything, except, perhaps, scream. Mental discipline simply does not work in these situations.”  Cool, huh?  The article also said the bug hardly ever stings without provocation….. hmmmmm, would that be like shaking the container???

THAT is why it is securely masking taped to the kitchen table… so as not to sting anyone.  I don’t like screaming.

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9 Responses to “Just a Neighborhood BUG!”

  1. Gramp and Gram R. Says:

    Jennie here (don’t want to change the name ’cause that will throw Gramps off).

    Anyhow – that is a seriously fantastic bug. I like bugs.

  2. rixgal Says:

    Keeve told me that I forgot to mention that the bug’s name is Steve…. because we name everything we catch.

  3. morethananelectrician Says:

    That is a BAD name for such a hideous creature…Steve’s of this world don’t get enough respect already!!!!!!

  4. rixgal Says:

    I’ll pass that news along, STEVE.

  5. LaVonna Says:

    Ewwww….I can not do insects. Kudos to you for finding a unique specimen.

  6. Mary Jo Stewart Says:

    Hi! When we studied insects this was our most terrifying & fascinating bug to –ewwww–look at in our book of bugs, mostly because of the reason it is called the “tarantula” hawk wasp –ewwww–: it is called that because it captures, stings, and paralyzes a tarantula and lays its egg on the tarantula and then the tarantula, which is still alive, is the hatched baby’s food. –ewwww– I’m really glad no one got stung. Is Steve still alive?

  7. rixgal Says:

    Hi Mary Jo! Keeve let Steve go a few days ago…. but he was in a convulsing, cripled state. He checked back later and Steve was gone. I don’t believe Steve is still with us……..

  8. Kristin Says:

    I live in West Texas and I have millions of these “Hawks” during the summers months they really like my pear tree and garden. They are not aggressive as far as I can tell because I have still gone and picked my crops lol and the pears and have not got stung, I did however get stung when I was seven I tried to step on it and kill it they do not kill as easily and it stung me in my ankle and all I could do was lay there and scream until my older cousin came to get me but if you do get stung the only thing we found to take my pain away was “used” chewing tobacco we call snuff or copenhagen the juices in it help nuturalize the pain somehow and I have not been stung since but I also do not try to kill them just let them be lol.

  9. Nancy Bell Says:

    Wow… I found one of these today and caught it in a plastic sandwich bag i had no idea what it was, I’ve been looking for new interesting animals to draw and thought it’d be perfect. I had no idea it was that harmful, it looked so beautiful but creepy. I set it free.. but now im scared to ever see it again.. When i found it, it was crawling in and out of under the rocks (probly looking for spiders) i didnt know you could find them in san Diego?

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