Cicada Killer in Mass
July 28, 2010 7:22 pm
I have a Cicada Killer in SE Mass, the time table and territory shows Cicadas not here, and not due around this year. Am I wrong or are they sustained on nectar in the off years (and shes lost)?
Colby Crossman

Hi Colby,
There are cicadas in your area every year.  Do not confuse the special appearance of the Periodical Cicada or 17 Year Locust that appear on a periodic schedule with the Annual Cicadas that appear each year.  The Periodical Cicadas, when they do appear, are about a month earlier than the appearance of Cicada Killers, so the Periodical Cicadas do not contribute to the diet of Cicada Killers which tend to feed on the Annual Cicadas that appear in mid to late summer.  It is also worth noting that only the larval Cicada Killers feed on the Cicadas which are paralyzed by the female Cicada Killer to provision her nest with food for her brood.  Adults take nectar.

2 Responses to Question about Cicada Killers

  1. pinkcollarscholar says:

    Isn’t the current evolutionary thinking about periodical cicadas that the staggered hatching may help protect them from predation by, among others, cicada killers?

    • bugman says:

      The theory about the staggered hatching with respect to the years that the Periodical Cicadas “swarm” is true, but Periodical Cicadas appear in June and Cicada Killers don’t make an appearance until mid July, making their typical prey the Annual Cicadas. Good Question.

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