I know these pictures are not the greatest but it’s the best I could do at the time. This is what I know to date: I live in Detroit, MI. I have seen about 5 of these in our area. I have lived in MI my entire life 45 years and in this house location for 10 years and I have never seen one of these bugs or their tunnels in the area. They tunnel in the dirt that is between the sidewalk and the grass. Their tunnels seem to always be on a 45 degree angle through the dirt. They mound the dirt up outside the tunnel, it’s a huge mound about as big as my shoe. Could you please help in identifying this creature? Thanks for your help.
Byron E. Freshwater

Hi Byron,
I hope this Cicada Killer met a death by natural causes. The Cicada Killer, Sphecius speciosus, is a large solitary wasp. A female digs a burrow and provisions it with cicadas. The cicadas are often larger than the Cicada Killer. She stings the cicada oftne in a tree, and then flies down toward her nest while carrying the large cicada. If she does not reach the burrow, she climbs another tree lugging the cicada and then attemps again to fly to the burrow. The cicada is only paralyzed by the wasp and once the cicada is buried an egg is layed. When the larva hatches, it feeds on the still living cicada, a source of fresh meat. I would guess that an unusually large population of cicadas in your area this year is also responsible for the increased numbers of Cicada Killers.

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