The large Cicada Killer is a wasp that very rarely attacks humans, however, dispatching Cicadas may be its favorite pastime.
Cicada Killer Videos
A Cicada Killer grasping a cicada, in slow motion
Yellow and black Cicada Killers earned their common name for good reason. This large wasp hunts down cicadas in mid-air, attacking in-flight. The cicada may buzz and try to escape, but if the Cicada Killer catches hold of it with its strong legs, a quick sting immobilizes the cicada, and both fly back to wasp's nest for offspring to consume. Though cicadas are the nutritious choice for larvae, adult Cicada Killers actually drink flower nectar. The larger the population of cicadas in an area, the more likely you will see Cicada Killers taking them down.
The fast and hefty Cicada Killer looks intimidating, but it rarely stings people who leave it alone. They are sometimes considered a nuisance because they tend to build their nests in the ground, making it difficult to play outside or mow the lawn in that area. The nests are sometimes mistaken for small animal burrows, but wasp activity by the hole should make it apparent that a wide berth is prudent. They are mostly seen in the summer when females work together to dig out nests underground before laying eggs in the tunnels.
Scientific Name: Sphecius speciosus
Other Name(s): Giant Cicada Killer
Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
Size (Adult; Length): 30mm to 50mm (1.17in to 1.95in)
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Ant, Bee, and Wasp Anatomy
Antennae: Ants and Bees both have a pair of antennae on the head that senses their surroundings.
Head: The head contains the insect's compound eyes, antennae, and mandibles.
Thorax: Contains various vital parts such as the aorta and nervous system.
Abdomen: Contains various organs including the heart, gut, venom glands, and anus.
Legs: Ants and Bees have three pairs of legs attached to the thorax (center-body section).
NOTE: Ants, Bees and Wasps are part of the Hymenoptera order because they share many similarities.