Friday, May 1, 2015

Revisiting the Cicada Killer Wasp

Four years ago, I introduced you to the cicada killer wasp, one of my favorite insects. Why do I like these guys so much? I think there are many answers: 1) I like to champion the underdog, the animals that most find terrifying or ugly; 2) they're just so massive; and 3) because of their large size, it makes it easier to observe their fascinating behaviors. (These are the same reasons why I also love the carpenter bee.) 

Every summer, I visit a hill at a local park where a large colony of about 30 cicada killers make their homes. Mr. Nature Geek and I love to sit right in the middle of the colony and watch the action around us, never once fearing we will be stung. When it came time to create videos for my Master's thesis, I knew just where one of my videos needed to be shot. 

Did you see that shot where I picked up a female cicada killer in my hand? Like I mentioned in my previous blog on cicada killers, females with a heavy cicada in tow have a hard time getting lift off of the ground, so they rely on vegetation and friendly humans to gain some altitude. And if nothing I've shown you so far has convinced you that cicada killers are not out to get you, let this be the ultimate proof:
(When she's sitting on my shoulder and waving her abdomen around like that, she's not trying to sting me, but rather is breathing heavily from all that climbing with a cicada that weighs 3 times as much as she does!)

Cicada killers are massive, yes, but they are massively beneficial and massively interesting when you give them a chance. This summer I triple-dog-day-cicada-dare you to find some cicada killers of your own and watch them do their thing. I'm just not responsible for what happens if you go chasing them with giant nets!


  1. You rock, you rock, you rock you rock, you rawk.

    1. Thank you, thank you, thank you thank you, thank you!

  2. You rock, you rock, you rock you rock, you rawk.