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  • Western Cicada Killer - (Sphecius grandis)

    Western Cicada Killer - (Sphecius grandis)

    The robust body and large size of a Western Cicada Killer can alarm anyone recognizing it as a wasp, but its focus is on the mid-air raids that will feed its young.

    Staff Writer (6/12/2017): Western Cicada Killers are one of four type of Cicada Killers. These large wasps are efficient hunters of the loud, plentiful, and nutritious cicadas that buzz through summertime. They attack flying cicadas, a noisy battle that can sometimes be heard by the humans below. Once captured, the cicadas are placed near a fertilized egg where it will serve as food for the emerging larva. Females dig their nests in the ground, creating a labyrinth of tunnels, each one ending with an egg and its meal. The earth mounds at the entrance and may be mistaken for a mole or chipmunk hole. Look for these nests near areas laden with cicadas.

    Western Cicada Killers are native to the western U.S. states and Mexico. Though adult females kill cicadas for their offspring, male and female adults drink nectar.

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    Details of the:
    Western Cicada Killer

    Category: Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
    Common name: Western Cicada Killer
    Scientific Name: Sphecius grandis

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Hymenoptera
          Family: Sphecidae
           Genus: Sphecius
            Species: grandis

    Size (Adult, Length): 30mm to 50mm (1.18in to 1.97in)

    Identifying Colors: orange, yellow, brown

    Additional Descriptors: buzzing, flying, ground, large, dots, bands

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Arizona; California; Colorado; Nebraska; Nevada; New Mexico; Oklahoma; Oregon; Texas; Utah; Washington; Wyoming; Mexico

    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.

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