A Killer


When this flying creature is spotted, one’s first thought is to run from the world’s biggest bee. This flying killer makes the human heart jump, but thankfully it is only cicadas that this wasp  (Sphecius speciosus) is after.

Commonly called Cicada Killers, the females hunt and sting cicadas to feed their offspring in nests that are burrowed 10 to 20 inches into soft soil.   The eggs and larvae overwinter and emerge in June and early July.

I first noticed these flying beasts a few years ago. I have to say they are very scary and make a loud buzz. I once saw one carrying a cicada on a pine tree.  Neighbors have complained about knocking at their doors that turned out to be the Cicada Killers.

I got a lucky shot of this wasp with my cell phone.  The Cicada Killers are only up to 2 inches long, but I swear this one was at least 3 inches as she flew around checking me out.

The Cicada Killers do not hurt humans unless they are handled roughly.  I’m not sure who would really want to handle them. I prefer to just let them fly by.

11 Comments on “A Killer”

  1. Tina says:

    I must be the only long-time gardener and outdoor enthusiast who’s never seen one of these! That’s a great shot with your cell phone camera.

    • I do not see them every year. I also think they are the big insects I see flying near the tops of trees. I thought it was dragon flies up there, but it make sense that the Cicada Killer would be flying around the treetops.

  2. Ann Coleman says:

    I’ve never seen a Cicada Killer. And I think I’d like to keep it that way…..

  3. I think you will enjoy this – I have been renovating my screen porch for winter and in and out a lot recovering the sofa cushions. Lo and behold, there is a gigantic bug on the screen. Yes, a cicada killer. Thanks for the ID. I left him or her alone.

  4. mattb325 says:

    Wow, what a huge beast of a wasp. Poor cicadas, they remind me of the chickens of the insect world (i.e. everything likes to eat them)

  5. Sheryl says:

    I also never have seen a Cicada Killer. I enjoyed reading about this interesting (though scary-looking) insect.

  6. gaiainaction says:

    Looks and sounds a bit scary, have never seen this creature.

  7. Yes, I, too, would be tempted to give them a wide berth! We get so many cicadas around here, I’m guessing we have these somewhere in the neighborhood, too, Thx for sharing–I’ll keep an eye out. 🙂

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