Cicada Killer Wasp

These are large wasps. The body is dark brown with reddish-orange legs, and yellow markings on the thorax and abdomen. There are several species of cicada killer wasps, with one species occurring east of the Rocky Mountains, two in the western U.S., and two in Florida.

Nests are burrows in the soil. Nesting occurs in late summer and fall, at the time that annual cicadas emerge and begin singing in trees. The prey is cicadas captured in trees.

Habits. The female flies in a circle around the tree or shrub. When a cicada is located, the wasp stings it, then grasps it to fly it back to the burrow. Females may dig burrows that contain 15 cells provisioned with one to three cicadas each to feed the young.

Females are generally not aggressive, but males will protect area around burrows.

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