Cicada Killer Wasp Hanging Out at Mid-States

Cicada Killer Wasp Hanging Out at Mid-States

It appears the cicada killer wasp has returned to the area and a group of them have taken up residence outside the entrance to Mid-States Concrete’s main office.

Cicada killer wasps are not generally dangerous to humans, unless provoked.  As long as you don’t try to grab one in your hand or stomp it under foot, the wasps will generally ignore you.  They are not aggressive and do not have the nest-guarding instinct of honey bees and hornets.  You can walk through areas where they are active without attracting attention.  Males lack stingers but are territorial. They will approach anything that enters “their area,” including walkers, people mowing or using weed-eaters or riding tractors. They may hover and challenge trespassers but are harmless, according to researchers with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.  But, if you are a cicada, it is an entirely different story.

According to researchers with the University of Illinois Extension, cicada killer wasps are actually considered beneficial insects because they control cicadas and katydids.

Here’s how it works, according to

  1. The adult female wasp will paralyze the cicada with her venomous sting.
  2. The wasp will carry the cicada to a burrow, where it will place the cicada.
  3. The wasp will lay an egg under the left or right second leg of the cicada.
  4. The egg hatches, and the larvae begins to eat the cicada, while taking care to keep it alive.
  5. Once the larvae has had its fill, it spins a cocoon, in which it will change into an adult wasp.

Really, the most these insects are going to do is buzz around and dig up some dirt.  According to researchers at the University of Illinois Extension, the wasps choose sites with specific characteristics: well-drained, light-textured soils in full sunlight that are near trees harboring cicadas. They may dig along sidewalk or patio edges, in flower beds, gardens or lawns. As much as 100 cubic inches of soil may be brought to the surface as tunnels are formed.

So, while they may look intimidating, leave them alone and they won’t hurt you.  And, they’ll be gone in a couple months.

(Photo originally appeared here).

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