Lately, with the “dog days” of Summer upon us, I’ve been seeing these big bugs. Cicada Killers are large, solitary, ground dwelling, predatory wasps. It is interesting to watch them scan the stems of plants as they search by sight for their quarry – Annual Cicadas.
The female Cicada Killer will paralyze a cicada with her sting, bring it back to her burrow, lay an egg on it and seal the burrow. A grub will hatch from the egg in a few days, eat the cicada and overwinter underground in a hard cocoon which it weaves.
During the past two years a bit of “driveway drama” played out as a Killer subdued a Cicada in my yard. Check out how fast the two insects were spinning in this classic stuggle between life and death.
Despite their large size and fearsome appearance, male Cicada Killers cannot sting and females rarely sting people. Males live for only two weeks or so. After a short life of intense patrolling, fighting and mating, they then die. Females live about four weeks, but work even harder than the males, digging many burrows and hunting. In a typical season 100 female Cicada Killers will clear over 16,000 Cicadas from the surrounding area.