Wasp type creature in back yard
Location: Jackson, MS
August 20, 2011 11:59 am
I found two of these dead in our back patio. I have no idea where they are coming form or why they are dead, but I’m glad! If you need another picture, let me know.
Signature: Rebecca

What Killed the Cicada Killer???

Hi Rebecca,
Your wasp is a Cicada Killer, but we are very intrigued as to what might be causing these deaths on your patio.  We have two theories, and we will begin with the more offensive one.  Perhaps they are being poisoned by one of your neighbors.  Cicada Killers are large and scary, though they are not aggressive.  They build underground nests which the female provisions with paralyzed Cicadas to feed her brood.  Many people are frightened by the nesting activity and they try to eliminate the wasps.  We have also received a large number of reports of large Robber Flies this year.  Robber Flies are predators that take prey on the wing.  They have mouthparts adapted to sucking fluids from their prey, so they would not leave bite marks nor would they chew the prey.  Perhaps these Cicada Killers are falling prey to a large Robber Fly.

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Location: Mississippi

3 Responses to What's Killing Cicada Killers???

  1. ciara says:

    they do they same on my front porch – i think thats what they are? (i took pics – here — http://ciara.smugmug.com/Animals/Insects/13935064_pvuNu) I find dozens dead every morning. I have discovered they are attracted to light — and that if we have water – sprinkler, hose etc – they come and retrieve it and take the water back to the forest nearby.

  2. Charles says:

    Cicada killers usually have only one predator besides people—so called cow killer ants, and these prey on sub-adult cicada killers. No, robber flies did not kill any cicada killers. It’s possible but highly unlikely, as the CK is too powerful in flight and on the ground. Most CK’s die because they buzz like jets till their insect heart suddenly stops, and they curl up and extend their stinger. I was surprised to see a CK couldn’t escape a spider web and it definitely was pierced and sucked by the spider. I don’t think any other flier in the insect world, anywhere, could have escaped, when that CK could not do it.

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