A dime shows just how big the colorful tarantula hawk wasp is. The wasp is known for, besides eating tarantulas, its excruciatingly painful sting.
Photo: Paul Zahl/National Geographic/Getty Images
Photo: Paul Zahl/National Geographic/Getty Images

Bitten by a tarantula hawk? Just ‘lie down and scream’ biologist says  

The scariest wasp on the planet is called the “Tarantula Hawk”– a name that sounds more like a super-villain than an insect.

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The nasty little bug gets its name from its food of choice, tarantulas. It’s hard to imagine something the size of a wasp hunting one of the largest spiders.

A closeup of a tarantula hawk wasp and tarantula on display at the Orange County Vector Control District in Garden Grove. 
Photo: Robert Lachman/LA Times via Getty Images

The sting from a Tarantula Hawk is so painful that the recommended treatment by biologist Justin O. Schmidt is to simply “lie down and scream.” Thankfully, the creature doesn’t come in contact with humans too often, though they are common in the southern United States. They generally only sting when provoked, and the pain, while crippling, subsides rather quickly.

At two-inches-long, the blue-black demon is one of the bigger wasps you’ll ever encounter. In 1989, New Mexico named it their state insect.

There’s a good chance that the sting might send the area around the bite into numbness. But, just be thankful that you’re not a tarantula, or you’d end up paralyzed and being eaten alive by wasp larvae.

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