Spider Wasp

spiderwaspVarious species
Family: Pompilidae
Order: Hymenoptera

Identification:
These wasps have long legs and move on foot with a restless, jerky motion while they flick their wings rapidly. They may be all black or blue, or black with orange, grey or white parts. They attack spiders-often ones bigger than themselves and are often noticed dragging them along the ground. Large black and orange spider wasps with orange wings are often seen in suburban gardens where they prey on huntsmen and wolf spiders.

Distribution:
Spider wasps are found all over mainland Australia and Tasmania, in all habitats including suburban gardens.

Life history:
Spider wasps are a solitary wasp, meaning they nest alone and not in as a colony building a common nest. They catch spiders of various kinds to feed their larvae (grubs). The female wasp stings the spider to paralyse it, then in most species drags it into a burrow in the ground and lays an egg on it. Upon hatching, the wasp grub consumes the spider before pupating to emerge as an adult the next summer. The adult wasps are nectar feeders.

spiderwasp2Pest Status:
Although female spider wasps look dangerous and do indeed have a powerful sting, they are not aggressive towards people and can be safely ignored. They nest alone and never build up to large numbers.

Management:
No control necessary.

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