What’s In a Name? Part 1 Cicada Killer

These two inch long wasps are scary enough, but the name Cicada Killer makes one think twice about them. They have the less scary proper name of Sphecius speciosus. The giant wasp does kill cicadas, but otherwise ignores humans.  I must have dozens of them this year.  They fly close to the ground and I can stand among them as the large females circle around.

The calls from cicadas have lessened as the female Cicada Killers collect them to take into the 10 inch tunnels that are being dug in all my beds.  Meanwhile, the males fly around and spar with each other and mate with the females.

I have found many more of these sandy nests around the yard this year compared to previous years.  A few times I have seen a female go into a tunnel and once saw a wasp dive into the nest with a cicada which they lay their eggs on to feed their larva. While these wasps are pretty chill, I did see one chase a hummingbird away from her territory. Sadly, these big gals only live 60 to 75 days and their only goal in life is to reproduce.

I checked through my blog and realized I have posted quite a few times on these wasps.  Check out the links if you would like more information on these fascinating creatures.

A Former Shell of Itself

I gave it a tap and got no reaction.  This is a shell or exoskeleton of a cicada that is left behind when they molt.  It is a little weird that the shells continue to cling to a plant when the bug leaves. Summer is winding down and the daily songs of cicadas will end soon.

Monster at the Door

This creature was on the door mat.  It is big and ugly at first glance, but once the photo is enlarged, its beautiful colors emerge.

This big bug is a cicada and somehow found its way out of a tree.  I thought it was dead, so naturally I poked it and discovered there was still some life in it.  Later, it managed to crawl to a safer location.

Two more related posts are coming up.


The Hunter and the Hunted

This big wasp has been hanging around the garden.  It is a Cicada Killer Wasp.  As its name implies, it hunts and eats Cicadas.

Within a day, I spotted this Cicada and so far the Killer Wasp did not find it.

This large bug has a face that only its mother could love, but not scary enough to keep from being hunted by the Killer Wasp.