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?