Grab your little ones and run for the house.  It’s a plague of mass proportions.  The cicada killers are everywhere.  RUN!!!  Ahhhhhhh.

Tee hee, just teasing.

Our newest growing area has a decent population of Cicada Killer Wasps (Sphecius specious), and until you get used to them buzzing about, working in close proximity with the 1″ or greater beasts can be a bit frightening. Although they can deliver a pretty painful sting, they tend to ignore us and only occasionally lumber up a leg, dragging their cargo beneath them.

A beneficial narrow-waisted solitary wasp, the cicada killer does just as it’s name implies–kills cicadas.  The female stings an adult cicada–paralyzing her prey–and then flips it on its back and carries it to a burrow holding a single egg.  Within a few days the egg hatches and feeds on the paralyzed cicada or cicadas left by it’s mother, leaving behind only the outer shell.

With a full belly, the larva then prepares for winter by building a case of silk.  Overwintering in the soil–it sets its sights to emerge next summer.