Wasps that eat spiders include spider wasps, bone-house wasps, mud dauber wasps, and other wasps. Most of them use their venom to paralyze spiders first and then eat them.
Spider-eating wasps are common throughout the whole world. Mud dauber wasps are the most widely distributed spider-eating wasps, as you’ll find them all over the world, including Asia, Europe, Americas, and Africa. Bone-house wasps, on the other hand, are very common in China and parts of Asia.
Wasps that eat spiders are often harmful to humans and are seen as pests, which is why they’re often eradicated as part of pest control.
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Spiders have some natural predators, despite their strong defensive capabilities. They use their strong chitinous shells to protect themselves, and many also use venom to do so.
However, against flying enemies, these protective measures are often not enough. This is particularly the case against venom-carrying creatures like wasps, where spiders are often stung first, so they have little chance of fighting back.
These are the wasps that most commonly eat spiders.
1. Spider Wasps
As the name of the species suggests, this particular species of wasps feeds primarily on spiders.
The spider wasp belongs to the family of Pompilidae wasps, which contains some of the most proficient eaters of spiders.
The vast majority of spider wasps from the Pompilidae family will use their venom to sting and paralyze the spider before eating it. Because they attack from the air, spiders aren’t able to prepare their defenses properly and even their chitinous shells are not good enough to protect them against these attacks.
When spider wasps sting, they use their neurotoxins called pompilidotoxin, which is unique to this species of wasps. When the spider is stung, it’s not able to defend itself properly, allowing the wasp to take it away.
It will either create a burrow or drag the spider with it to the nest where the larvae and the egg hatches will feed on the spider.
Some spider wasps are ectoparasites for spiders. An ectoparasite is a special type of parasite that will feed on the host animal’s skin and steal food from it until the host is exhausted or completely unable to survive any longer on its own.
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2. Mud Dauber Wasps
Mud dauber wasps, sometimes also called mud wasps or dauber wasps, are a special type of wasp that creates their nests from mud.
This species of wasps is widely distributed around the globe. You’ll find it in parts of Asia, Africa, Americas, and Europe.
Mud daubers also contain venom and will use it to kill or capture a spider. The venom of the mud dauber wasp is not harmful to humans, but it can be harmful for the spiders that they attack.
These wasps prey on smaller spiders such as the crab spider, orb weavers, and some jumping spiders. They’ll look for these spiders in the vegetation – most notably, grass, where many orb weaver spiders preside.
Like the spider wasp, the mud dauber wasp will attack from above. After identifying the target, the mud dauber will strike from above and inject its venom into the spider.
The venom will paralyze the spider and not kill it. After that, the mud dauber will drag the spider into its nest or feed on it right on the spot.
3. Bone-House Wasps
The bone-house wasp, also called the Deuteragenia ossarium, is a wasp species that was discovered fairly recently.
It was first discovered in China and one of the main distinguishing features was its tendency to create vestibular cells out of dead ants to protect its eggs while spawning.
The bone-house wasp is also a spider-eating species of wasps. It is a fairly aggressive wasp, as it will seek to protect its nest against any other animal that might come close. It has a potent venom that is enough to paralyze or kill even some larger spider species.
It is a very potent and widely avoided enemy in nature. Its ability to scare off predators with its nests of ants is quite potent and effective, but it also uses its strong venom to deter any potential predators.
When on the attack, the bone-house wasp is highly efficient thanks to its venom.
The primary type of food for this type of wasp are ants, but it will not hesitate to kill smaller spiders and on occasions, even some larger spiders if the opportunity presents itself.
Thanks to its potent venom, it is able to paralyze and prey on spiders that are much larger than itself.
Though this is a fairly recently discovered species and the researchers are still trying to fully figure out its hunting capabilities, it’s clear that it does have a capacity to hunt and eat spiders.
4. Tarantula Hawk
The tarantula hawk, or often called the tarantula wasp, belongs to the family of Pompilidae, so it could also be considered as a species from the spider wasp.
However, one of the main distinguishing features that separate the tarantula hawk from other spider wasps is its ability to prey on larger spiders.
Again, the tarantula hawk uses its powerful sting to paralyze the tarantula and drag it to its nest where the spider is then eaten alive by the larvae. This behavior is seen as parasitic so tarantula hawks are considered to be parasites of the tarantulas and not direct predators.
The tarantula hawk is slightly larger than most other spider-eating wasps and it has more venom, which enables it to be more effective against larger spiders like tarantulas.
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Though fairly small in size, wasps pack a punch when it comes to their venom and their ability to capture and kill larger targets.
Some wasps eat spiders, which is thanks to their ability to use their potent venom to paralyze the spider and then feed on it. Among the most common spider eaters are the spider wasp, the tarantula hawk, bone-house wasp, and mud daubers.
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