Wasp like insect
Location: Central North Carolina
July 23, 2011 10:35 am
body banded yellow and white. Hundreds of these insects in only a certain area. Flies close to ground mostly and seldom lite. About 1 inch long. Do not attempt to sting when I walk among them. I would guess they are mating but have never seen them mate.
Signature: Don Phillips
As we do every summer, we are fielding numerous identification requests for your insect, the Cicada Killer. We also spend considerable time trying to dissuade folks from exterminating them because they fear getting stung. Cicada Killers are not aggressive wasps, and we would like our readership to pay special attention to what you have written: “Hundreds of these insects in only a certain area. … About 1 inch long. Do not attempt to sting when I walk among them.” Male Cicada Killers tend to try to defend territory, but males do not have stingers, so despite their sometimes aggressive behavior, they are harmless. Females do have stingers, but the purpose of the stinger is to paralyze Cicadas to feed to her brood. Female Cicada Killers are not aggressive and they have no interest in stinging people, though we acknowledge that they are most likely capable of stinging should one be handled or accidentally fly down an unbuttoned shirt or blouse. Thanks so much for your letter. It has given us an opportunity to share with our readership that despite you having hundreds of Cicada Killers nearby, you have not been threatened.