Cicada Killer? Or other?
July 5, 2010
This 4cm wasp showed up in my screened porch in Nashville, TN this hot sunny, 94’F afternoon (July 5). Although, I know you don’t approve of killing them, with small nieces and nephews about, it was not going to be allowed to stay as our guest. I have never seen one like this and wanted to know if I need to be concerned for the sake of the humans near by, or if future visitors are expected to be harmless. The ruler used for scale is indicating centimeters. Thanks for your help.
Your identification of the Cicada Killer, Sphecius speciosus, is correct. By all indications, a female Cicada Killer could theoretically sting a person, though we have never received a confirmed report that a person has been stung by a Cicada Killer. The males which tend to aggressively defend territory, are incapable of stinging. It is our opinion that you do not need to be concerned that humans will be stung by future Cicada Killers that visit your home. Thank you for recognizing that we do not approve of killing insects unnecessarily, though we fully understand that the instinct to protect small children is behind much of the Unnecessary Carnage that comes our way. It is possible to use this mounted specimen as an educational tool with the youngsters who should be taught to appreciate and respect the natural world around them. Just yesterday, we overheard a conversation between two adult women and a young girl who were walking past our Mt Washington offices in Los Angeles. One woman mentioned that turning right would go to a park (Elyria Canyon Park), and the child wanted to know more about the park. The woman explained to the child that there was nothing there but grass and that there might be coyotes. This mentality toward open space and its preservation is counter productive in our mind. Children should be taught not to fear natural open spaces, but to appreciate them. This is the only way that future generations will fight to protect undeveloped land.
Thank you so much for your rapid response to my request for information. I will most certainly use my specimen of the cicada killer to teach those around me about it – both young and old. In fact, I have already shared the picture and your information with several friends. I am with you 100% regarding the need to educate people about the world around us. If you don’t know something exists, you can’t advocate for it. Future cicada killers in my world will be safe. Thank you again.