In my experiment with fermented insect bait, my greatest surprise has been the regular appearance of two cicada killer wasps (Sphecius speciosus). I’ve seen them in the backyard before, and they are always flying fast and low to the ground. It’s been a treat to see them up close on the feeder.
At 1-2 inches long, they are our largest wasp and look strikingly fearsome. However, I got close to them and they were not at all aggressive. Only the females have stingers, which they use to paralyze cicadas. I was fascinated to observe this process in our driveway last year.
The female wasp then carries the paralyzed insect to an underground burrow. This is no easy task as their prey is often twice as heavy as the wasp. The cicada then serves as food for the wasp’s larva.
I like seeing and hearing cicadas. I’m also glad we have cicada killer wasps, and I enjoyed getting a closer look at them. The interaction between these two insects may seem a bit gruesome, but I accept it as nature’s way. I continue to be amazed at the dramas that occur in the backyard when I take time to notice.