Tarantula Hawk   (five photos)
Genus Pepsis


pepsis
I found two Tarantula Hawks on this same sunflower on Antelope Island and they
were not happy to see one another. Nothing can cause more fear and curiosity
in me than Pepsis wasps and I was a little worried when the two wasps started
fighting one another. I definitely wasn't going to take sides! Carol Davis 7-30-2017


pepsis wasp
I find these wasps to be beautiful, frightening, and a little cranky at times. If I feel
they're watching me too closely, I back off. I'd rather shoot pictures from a
distance than have a Tarantula Hawk after me.  Carol Davis 7-30-2017

TARANTULA HAWK
These wasps seemed to tolerate the presence of a Mud Dauber as long as it
 didn't try to move in on their spots. I was kind of amazed that little bees and
wasps would dive in on these for a couple of punches. I guess if you're
smaller and faster, you can take those chances. Carol Davis 7-30-2017
 
pepsis
This wasp holds the record for the largest wasp I've ever seen - even larger than the Cicada Killer. When I first spotted
it, I thought it was a hummingbird because of the size and because it was
humming (it reminded me of when we used
to clip playing cards to the spokes of our bicycles when we were kids to make our bikes sound
loud and, of course, cool).  
I would guess it was 5 plus centimeters in length. The photo below is of another one (also female) but this one was about
 a centimeter smaller and did not hum (from the wingbeats, I assume). Carol Davis 9-3-2013


tarantula hawk in utah
Both wasps were blue-black with orange wings and looked like they had been splattered with with messy paint
rollers.
Even their eyes were covered in pollen from the Rocky Mountain Bee Plants.  In my experience, Tarantula
Hawks are hard to approach because they keep
making false charges (and scaring the crap out of me).  I have no
 doubt either one of these wasps could carry off a tarantula or even my old VW Beetle. In addition, t
heir stings list high
on the Schmidt Pain Index as reported by Shelley Batts on Science Blogs. 
Carol Davis 9-3-2013, Antelope Island.


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