August 20, 2014

Crash Landing

August is a good time to see the cicada killer wasp.

There were a number of the wasps flying around a sandy soil field with short grass here at Rondeau

One dropped her cicada, either missing the burrow or because it was tired from fighting a strong head wind.

She stung the cicada again to make sure it wasn't going anywhere while she tried for lift off.

It had great difficulty getting airborne again and crashed head first with her heavy load several times.

Eventually it climbed the leg of a picnic table to get some height. It worked after three tries but it flew off in the direction it had come from.

Sphecius speciosus

Females dig nest burrows in well-drained soil, often forming large nesting aggregations, and provision nest cells with cicadas they capture and paralyze in nearby trees.

When the males appear in mid or late June, they usually display very aggressive behaviour that strikes fear into people’s hearts. However, as in other stinging wasps, males of the cicada killer do not have a stinger, and hence they are harmful. 

source - various

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