inch-long flying, burrowing insect
August 12, 2009
we came outside to find a huge mound of dirt between my flagstones. I couldnt imagine what made this. Later in the day I saw the insect. It has wings and six orange legs, antenna, yellow stripes around it’s black body in the back. It was burrowing this hole. Digging in the dirt. Going inside and coming back out and digging backwards with its legs as if it was swimming.
Ken and Lisa Weinstein
North Salem, NY
Hi Ken and Lisa,
This is a Cicada Killer, a wasp species that preys upon Cicadas. The female wasp, as evidenced by your photograph, digs a burrow and provisions it with stung and paralyzed Cicadas that form a food source for her brood. Male Cicada Killers often act in an aggressive manner when defending territory, but male Cicada Killers do not possess a stinger and are not a threat. The female Cicada Killer does have a stinger, and might sting a human if provoked, but female Cicada Killers are not aggressive and we have never received a substantiated report of a Cicada Killer stinging a person. The nesting period may last several weeks at which time your visitor will either die or leave the area.