Subject: What is this thing?!?
Location: Austin, Texas, USA
June 28, 2013 10:57 am
So I have noticed these things flying around our yard for the last couple months, it’s the end of June now.. They’re about an inch in length with yellow and black coloring down the body. If you look straight down at them while they are digging, they look like roaches. They fly around during the day but just last night, I walked out to find them wiggling their bodies in and out of dirt mounds that have popped up over night in our yard. It was like they were making a path to the holes they were coming in and out of. Just really worried because they are literally right at our front door and right next to the cars in the driveway and I don’t want my son or myself to get stung or attacked in any way.
Signature: Concerned human

Cicada Killer

Cicada Killer

Dear Concerned human,
We got distracted with real life responsibilities yesterday and we never got around to addressing your identification request.  Despite the blurry image, your description and the general shape and coloration of this Wasp indicates it is a Cicada KillerCicada Killers are not aggressive, but they occasionally form colonies where multiple females will nest in the same general area.  If they are visible at night, you may have seen some recently emerged adults that have spent the last year as developing larvae and then pupae.  The life cycle of a Cicada Killer is quite fascinating.  The female digs an underground nest that is provisioned with paralyzed Cicadas.  She will drag a Cicada and glide with it for a considerable distance to get her prey to the nest.  She will then lay an egg on the paralyzed Cicada which will feed the developing larva.  Because of their large size, Cicada Killer are often victims of unnecessary carnage.  Female Cicada Killers would be capable of stinging if carelessly handled, but they have no interest in humans and we have never received a verified report of a person being stung by a Cicada Killer.  Male Cicada Killers sometimes defend territory rather aggressively, however, they are incapable of stinging as the stinger of all bees and ants is a modified ovipositor, an organ for laying eggs.  Because of that, only female bees and wasps possess stingers.  

Location: Austin, Texas

One Response to First Cicada Killer Photo of the year

  1. Tracie Brown says:

    I’m in Chesapeake , VA and have seen these for a few weeks now. Thanks for having such clear photos. Is there anyway to rid my backyard of these things?

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