Daddy Something Bit Me!

Assassin bugI was lying in bed last night, in that state where you’re half awake and half asleep. It’s then I heard a sound no father wants to hear… A blood-curdling scream coming from my daughter’s bedroom.

As I threw off my covers, and clumsily dashed through the hall to my daughter’s bedroom, I was greeted by my petrified and hysterical four-year-old.

“Daddy, something bit me!!!”

Daddy Something Bit Me!

Bug BiteAfter hearing the discerning news, that my daughter was either bit or stung by something as she lie in her bed, my first thought was “scorpion!”

Living in Arizona, it’s actually fairly common to be stung by a scorpion while in bed. I’m guessing each and every Arizonan either knows somebody who has been stung by a scorpion while in bed, or has been stung themselves. Before climbing into bed, most of us in Arizona take a quick peek under the covers for scorpions; as scorpions like to climb up the bedding from the floor and hide out during the daylight hours.

After entering my daughter’s room, I closely examined her as she showed me where it hurt. Sure enough, there was a bright red dot on her arm that looked very much like a scorpion sting. The area near the bite or sting site had begun to swell, and a red ring began to develop on her leg. At this point she was freaked out and frankly so was I.

I frantically tore the covers and sheets off my daughter’s bed, shaking them frantically. We looked and looked in her bed, on the floor, and throughout her room, but couldn’t find anything that even resembled a scorpion. After about five minutes of searching for a scorpion, we were about to give up.

Then my daughter spotted it!

The Culprit

assassin bugOn the floor, at the foot of my daughter’s bed, lie a funny looking insect that I had never seen before in person. I grabbed a jar and scooped it up. I closely examined the culprit as it squirmed and twitched in the jar.

The insect looked almost like a mosquito, but bigger. It had long legs and a narrow head. Its back was orange, and it had a very long and sharp looking beak. I did a quick check online, to confirm what I already knew.

It was an ASSASSIN BUG!

Working for Bulwark Exterminating, I was aware of the Assassin bug; but not as an enemy but as an ally. Commonly used as a natural pest control method, the Assassin bug has proven its ability to perform as an effective exterminator of spider and termite control problems. I was really unaware that Assassin bugs can also attack and bite humans.

Assassin Bug Bites

Assassin Bug bitesOften aggressive, Assassin bugs are not afraid to attack creatures; much larger than itself. In fact, if not handled with care and caution, Assassin bugs have been known to attack humans; causing a very painful bite and severe reaction.

Appropriately named, the Assassin bug will wait patiently for the opportunity to ambush their prey. Exercising speed and accuracy, the Assassin bug uses its long beak to stab it’s victim; and inject lethal toxin.

Yes, my poor daughter learned all about this the hard way!

Tarantula vs Tarantula Hawk Wasp

Tarantula! Probably the world’s scariest looking spider is the large, hairy and supreme tarantula, but the tarantula has a natural arch nemesis; the Tarantula Hawk Wasp. Up against a tarantula, the Hawk Wasp really has no competition; it’s like child’s play for the wasp. This particular wasp has one of the most painful stings to man, so imagine what it can do to a tarantula. So let’s compare these two insects.

Let’s Start With The Underdog: The Tarantula

 

Tarantula

The tarantula is one of nature’s top dogs. It’s one of the largest species of spiders. The tarantula lives in dry deserts and grasslands. Its home is underground in borrows and the spider is mainly active at night. It has very few natural predators and feeds on other insects. Some tarantulas have been known to eat lizards, snakes, and even small birds. The tarantula will bite its prey with its fangs to inject paralyzing and digestive venom. Another defense the tarantula has is the hair on its abdomen. The spider will use its back legs to fling out the hairs. These hairs can be quite uncomfortable causing extreme itching and irritation to its predators.

The venom released by a tarantula is enough to kill and take out the tarantula’s future meal. In perspective though, a tarantula bite is not very threatening to people. Its fangs sinking in can cause noticeable pain, but tarantula venom is not lethal and cannot cause very much damage.

The Next Contender: Our Reigning Champion- The Tarantula Hawk Wasp

 

Tarantula Hawk Wasp

The Tarantula Hawk Wasp gets its name for being one of the tarantula’s few natural predators. The wasp has one of the strongest stings known to man. Right after the bullet ant, the Tarantula Hawk Wasp has the most painful insect sting. The Hawk Wasp consumes mainly nectar, but when it’s time to reproduce the wasp requires a tarantula host for its egg. The wasp lives in the same habitat as the tarantula, and so it will seek out a tarantula either in its burrow or when the tarantula is roaming around. After just one sting, the tarantula will become paralyzed. The wasp then drags the tarantula to its burrow where it lays its egg on the tarantula’s back. The egg will hatch and begin to feed on the live, but paralyzed, tarantula. Once the offspring has fully developed, it finishes off the spider and is free to enter the world, having already conquered one of the desert’s toughest insect predators.

Now For The Main Event: Tarantula Vs. Tarantula Hawk Wasp

 

 

Our winner and undisputed champion is once again, the Tarantula Hawk Wasp!