Cicada Killer
Location: St. Louis, MO
June 23, 2011 10:52 am
Love the site! Found it several years ago while trying to figure out what ”those crazy centipede millipede silverfish things” were. (House centipedes FTW!) While it hasn’t solved ALL of my irrational fears (crickets!), it has certainly helped.
Anyway, I was going through some old photos and ran across this cicada killer with her dinner. Thought you might enjoy the photo. I found her on the tire of my car in July of 2007 and had never seen one before. I figured out what she was with the help of your site.
Enjoy and thanks for all the hard work on this site!
Signature: Tracie

Cicada Killer preys upon Annual Cicada

Hi Tracie,
Your photo is just a bit early to coincide with the annual appearance of Cicada Killers, but we are very excited that you have sent it to us.  Some years we can get as many as three or five identification requests for Cicada Killers in a day, and they generally arrive in our mailbox during July and August.  We have just posted our first image of a molting Annual Cicada in the genus
Tibicen for the year, and as the food source for the developing Cicada Killer broods are beginning to appear, the predators should soon follow.  We are going to feature your posting and we hope that informing our readers about this amazing Sand Wasp will help to curtail their slaughter.  Often people are unnerved because thought Cicada Killers are solitary wasps, they tend to form nursery nests in colonies.  Male Cicada Killers are perfectly harmless as they cannot sting, are nonetheless quite aggressive about defending territory.  Female Cicada Killers are capable of stinging, be we have never in more than 13 years of writing What’s That Bug? been able to document a verified incident of a person being stung by a Cicada Killer.  The few claims we have received are better explained by blaming other more aggressive wasps like Paper Wasps.

So glad you could use the photo!  I certainly could see how people would be intimidated by such a large wasp.  I was just so impressed by her I had to get some photos, but I certainly kept my distance!  🙂  She was actually dragging the cicada up the tire of my car (looks like the photo on the site got rotated) and I ended up walking the couple of blocks home for lunch so I wouldn’t disturb her by driving off.
I do hope this will help people understand and be less afraid of these creatures.  Hey, if I can learn why house centipedes shouldn’t be automatically smushed regardless of how alien they look I believe ANYONE can.  Shoot, I was actually GLAD to see these guys in my new house.  The cave crickets, on the other hand, are not welcome.  I’ll send photos of those along if I ever muster up the courage to not immediately run from the basement when I see one.

Hi again Tracie,
Yes the image was rotated to maximize its size on the website.  Cicada Killers will climb up trees and walls while dragging a Cicada.  They can then glide some distance back to the excavated nest.

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Location: Missouri

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