It’s so hard to get insects to stay still–and I don’t use a fancy camera on a tripod and I don’t have the patience to wait for hours–or even minutes to get a good shot either.
Sadly this little gal was dead when I took this shot. Not sure what happened but I do know it wasn’t an insecticide. Folks are very good about respecting these gentle–yes, gentle–wasps at my church.
This is a cicada killer (although my church Bulletin persists in calling them Hermit Bees for some reason. There’s nothing bee-like about them. Perhaps it sounds less threatening).
Despite the threatening appearance as the world’s most overgrown hornet or yellow jacket, these are really just gentle giants. I am one of the champions who stands outside the church after Mass, talking to friends as they buzz around, and telling everyone that they’re just very good bugs and completely harmless.
They come around this time of year, as the name implies, right around the time of the periodic, or “dog day” cicadas. That’s what they feed to their young. They are burrowing wasps and they make a hole in the ground, lay eggs, kill cicadas, take them into the burrow and leave them there for the young to feast on upon hatching. While they do have a stinger, it’s pretty much defensive–much like a bumble bee’s stinger. You’d really have to rile the thing up to get it to sting you–and it would take more than some flailing of arms (although I don’t recommend that, of course)
It can be a bit intimidating to stand there in flimsy sandals while these big gals are buzzing around your toes but really, we all do need to get smarter about our bugs. Why waste energy wiping out the “good” bugs?