The Tarantula Hawk Wasp of Oklahoma: What Homeowners Need to Know

Posted by Matthew Rathbone on April 16, 2023 · 3 mins read

As a homeowner in Oklahoma, you’ve probably seen the tarantula hawk wasp in your backyard at least once. These large wasps can be intimidating, but they’re not as dangerous as they seem. In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about tarantula hawk wasps so you can coexist with them safely.

DIY Wasp removal recommendations

For non aggressive wasps I've had great luck spraying the nests with this Spectracide wasp remover in the evening. For more aggressive wasps I also use this rediculous looking upper torso Beekeeping suit. It seems silly, but trust me, it's amazing.

What is a Tarantula Hawk Wasp?

Tarantula hawk wasps are a species of large, solitary wasps found throughout North America, including Oklahoma. They typically grow up to 2 inches in length and have a distinctive black body with bright orange wings. Despite their intimidating size and appearance, tarantula hawk wasps are not aggressive towards humans and only sting when provoked.


Tarantula hawk wasps are named after their hunting habits. They feed on nectar from flowers, but their primary prey is tarantulas. Female tarantula hawks hunt down tarantulas, sting them to paralyze them, then lay their eggs on the spider’s body. Once the larvae hatch, they feed on the still-living tarantula until it dies.

While this may seem gruesome, tarantula hawk wasps play an important role in controlling tarantula populations and are generally considered beneficial to have around.

Dealing with Tarantula Hawk Wasps

If you spot a tarantula hawk wasp in your backyard, the best thing to do is leave it alone. Tarantula hawk wasps are not aggressive towards humans unless provoked, so as long as you don’t disturb them or their nests, you should be fine.

If you do happen to get stung by a tarantula hawk wasp, the pain can be intense but typically subsides within a few hours. To alleviate the pain, apply a cold compress or take an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen.

Preventing Tarantula Hawk Wasp Infestations

While tarantula hawk wasps are generally harmless to humans, they can become a nuisance if they decide to build their nests near or inside your home. To prevent infestations, make sure all cracks and crevices in your home are sealed, keep your yard free of debris and clutter, and avoid leaving food or garbage out for extended periods.

If you do find a tarantula hawk wasp nest on your property, it’s best to contact a professional pest control service to handle the removal.


Tarantula hawk wasps may seem intimidating, but they’re generally harmless to humans and beneficial to have around. By understanding their behavior and taking precautions to prevent infestations, you can coexist with these fascinating creatures safely in your own backyard.