Can You Identify The Insect That’s Considered To Have The Most Painful Sting On Planet Earth?

Updated September 7, 2017

When it comes to insects, most people have issues. Whether we are talking about flies, roaches, mosquitoes, or spiders, chances are, you do not want them anywhere near you, right? Well, even in the world of stinging, biting, egg laying, disease carrying bugs, there is one who reigns most feared of all: Meet the Tarantula hawk!

Many people do not like stinging insects like bees and wasps because, well, their stings can be extremely painful. And if you have ever gotten a simple bee sting, you know just how awful it can be. But there is one flying, stinging insect that makes every other insect, even dreaded spiders, squirm. The Tarantula Hawk.

Its name comes from the preferred meal of this bug. The tarantula hawk eats tarantulas for breakfast. Actually, it feed them to its babies for breakfast.

This is one badass insect.

Luckily, thanks to evolution, most creatures have learned to give these flying beasts a wide berth, so they have grown extremely docile. However, if you are ever in the Southwest United States, where these things call home, and you are unfortunate enough to make one mad, you are going to be in for the worst pain of your life. And unfortunately, you will not die, no matter how much you want to.

The recommended medical treatment for a victim of a tarantula hawk bite is simple: lay down and scream. There is no antidote, or treatment beyond suffering through the searing, mind numbing agony.

One researcher once described the pain as “…immediate, excruciating, unrelenting pain that simply shuts down one’s ability to do anything, except scream. Mental discipline simply does not work in these situations.”

On the plus side, it does not last terribly long, only a half hour or so, and then you will be fine. On the minus side, that half hour will be the worst half hour of your life.

The tarantula hawk is about two inches long and a gorgeous blue black color. You will recognize it instantly because of its size. It is a member of the wasp family.

They rarely attack unless provoked, so just leave them alone and you should be fine. Unless you happen to be a tarantula. As feared as these mammoth spiders are, they are the food that tarantula hawks desire most.
They will attack a tarantula, flipping it over and injecting with their poison. Instantly paralyzed, the spider is then dragged back to the wasp’s nest, where it is fed to the juvenile tarantula hawks. Alive. Imagine being stung and paralyzed and then fed to larvae that eat you alive.

Someone get Ellen Ripley on the line, please!

In 1989, an elementary school class in New Mexico was doing research on states that had adopted a state insect. As part of their civics lesson, they sent a proposal to the New Mexico state legislature with three insects native to the state. The tarantula hawk was chosen in a statewide mail in ballot from children all over New Mexico.

Have you ever been bitten by a tarantula hawk? Can you describe how it felt? What is your state insect? Please share your stories with us here.