Eastern Cicada Killer
The Eastern Cicada Killer (Sphecius speciosus) males cannot sting though they can jab with their sharp spine. The females' stinger is not for defense but for paralyzing cicadas. The males aggression, scary as it may appear to us, is directed not against people but against other males to protect valuable nesting areas to which they have laid claim. It may at times appear to attack people near its nesting area, but it is actually closely investigating for female Cicada Killers. The females are also not aggressive toward people unless they are treated roughly. The female digs a ten to twenty inch tunnel into which she carves a chamber. She then catches a Cicada, usually in flight, and paralyzes it. The Cicada is over twice as heavy as she is. She holds it upside down as she flies to the tunnel she has dug. She may have to first drag the Cicada up a tree to start her flight high enough. She places one paralyzed Cicada with a male egg and two or three with a female egg because the females are much larger. The larvae eat the Cicadas for around two weeks before making a cocoon for the winter. The female Cicada Killer will make multiple chambers in each tunnel for her eggs. The adults live up to 75 days during the warm months into the early fall. There are four species if Cicada Killer wasps in North America and more worldwide.