Saturday, June 6, 2015

Corralitas Drive: Watch Your Step!
It's Tarantula Hawk Season

Photo: Diane Edwardson, June 2, 2015.  A small, 2 1/2" Tarantula Hawk (a very large wasp) was methodically walking around the ground looking in gopher holes, when she noticed me taking her photo with my phone.  She walked over to me at the curb and gave me threatening body language until I backed up.  Then she continued on her way.  (Click on photos to enlarge.) 

Tarantula Hawks are perhaps the scariest bugs I've ever encountered n the Red Car Property Neighborhood.  It's a monstrous wasp with a black body and bright red-orange wings.  I've seen them as large as 4" long.  You usually see them in June, flying a few feet above ground, trailing their very heavy black legs beneath them.  They fly with a very loud "click, click, click" sound.  This was the first time I'd noticed they were also iridescent blue-green-black in the late afternoon sun.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, June 2, 2015.  It only gets scarier.  The size of the wasp is dependent on the host in which the larva  grows.  The female walks around the ground, searching for a large host, like its namesake, a tarantula to lay a single egg in.  And yes there are Tarantulas in the hills of Los Angeles. 

They reportedly have a really nasty sting.  So if you see one, let it go on it's way.