Location: Doylestown PA/ Stephens City VA
August 10, 2011 6:31 am
I have what I believe are cicada killer wasps living in my backyard:dirt mounds with tunnels, siting of very large(3 inches) insect like the one in the photo going into said mound. Meanwhile, my neice in VA took a pic that looks exactly like the critter I saw going into the mounds.My questions are: is this a photo on a cicada killer female, and what is going on in this photo?
Signature: Deb Kerns
The behavior you describe is consistent with that of Cicada Killers, however, the predator in the attached photo is a Robber Fly known as a Red Footed Cannibalfly. It is feeding on a Paper Wasp. Red Footed Cannibalflies would not be building underground nests, so despite the striped abdomen, if you compare this predator with this Cicada Killer image from our archives, you will see the apparent differences between the two insects. The Cicada Killer is a much more robust insect. Not having a photo in front of you and trusting your memory might be creating a false similarity between the two species.