Friday, August 29, 2008

The Cicada Killers Scare Me, Too!


I'm allergic to bee stings. Yet honeybees don't scare me, because they're usually not aggressive and I respect them. I even like them. I used to freak if one was buzzing close-by but now I don't give them a second thought.

Paper wasps, yellow jackets, and mud daubers get a whole lot more of my respect for their space, but I'm not too bothered by those, either. I try to watch my pop can if I've got it outside, just in case they want a sip, too.
But when the Cicada Killers come to town, I'm outta here.


If you've never seen one of these ginormous wasps, good for you. They're big, bad, and ugly. I don't care if only the females sting and will only sting if you bother them. I'm not about to test that. These are not your everyday, run-of-the-mill wasps. You could probably catch one, deep-fry it, and feed a family of four with it.


Why are they called Cicada Killers? Because that's what they do. They kill the cicada, drag it into their nest in a hole in the ground, lay an egg in it, then seal it up. The larva then eats the rest of the cicada while developing into yet another one of these beasts, after spending the winter in a cocoon.

They emerge in late July and August, when their prey (Annual cicadas) are also present.
They're considered beneficial pests, and I'll just have to trust that they are, but they still scare the bejeebers out of me.


____________
Photo by fairlane of Jonestown. What? You think I was going to get close enough to take a picture myself? Are you nuts?


13 comments:

Eve said...

I hope I don't run up against one of them. I am not afraid of wasps and such but I do have a healthy respect for thier space. I did't know mud dabbers would sting.
It sounds grizzley the way they come into this world. As for frying them up...eeewwww! LOl

Gail said...

A new beastie..wow, they are huge.

Cynthia said...

Oh my are those BIG. I have never heard of these but I think they would scare me too if I ever saw one. Wow.

Katie said...

Until these were ID'd for me a while back, I was terrified of them...and ours aren't even nearly that large!

Diana said...

Kylee - thanks for that great post and the pictures. I must admit, I killed one of those last weekend and had no idea what it was. It is a beast and it was just darn creepy! I hauled my husband, daughter and Mom and Dad into the corner of the garage to showoff the dead one. No one had ever seen one before, but now I know all about them - thanks!

Cindy said...

Thank goodness I've never seen one of those in real life! That is just too scary! YIKES!

Cindy

John said...

Great picture! We had one of these burrowing near our tomatoes. I had never seen one before. It was the size of a small hummingbird. Scared the bejeebers out of me. Thanks for the info.

min hus said...

I've never seen one of these and I hope I never do. I am PETRIFIED of all flying/stinging insects. Bees I can handle, as long as they keep their distance, but everything else is likely to send me running inside.

It makes my skin crawl just to read about these things. Ewww!

I saw some cicadas last weekend, and they were pretty darn icky too. Yes, I'm a bug-a-phobe.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I got a picture of one with a cicada in our garden the other day. It isn't a great picture but I will have to try to post it soon. They are big scary looking beasts.

Kara said...

Well that was just fascinating and disgusting all at once! I have never seen one before. My 5 year old is enthralled with bugs right now, I'll have to show him your pictures!

Anonymous said...

Do not be afraid of these gentle giants. They are big, and so are more feared than others. However, as with many insects and arachnids, the smaller ones are the ones you have to watch out for! Yellow jackets are much much more aggressive. And the sting of a paper wasp is very painful. Experts say that the sting of a cicada killer is very mild and relatively unpainful as far as stings go. If you see them, admire them, but leave them alone and they'll leave you alone!

Kelly L said...

We just got some of these that have been hanging out around our house lately. My neighbor was asking around on facebook how to get rid of them, but I hadn't seen them until this morning. THEY ARE TERRIFYING. I hate stingy things in general, but these are GIANT and EPIC in their terrifying-ness.

Kylee Baumle said...

Kelly ~ Indeed, they are terrifying in their appearance! But as others have said, leave them alone and they'll leave you alone. No problem! LOL!

blogger templates | Make Money Online