Wordless Wednesday–Let’s Get Smart About Our Bugs, Shall We?

cicada killer

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?

3 thoughts on “Wordless Wednesday–Let’s Get Smart About Our Bugs, Shall We?

  1. michele August 12, 2013 / 4:14 pm

    Funny story…right after my daughter moved into a 100 year old home, she saw these giant flyers buzzing all over her new (tiny) yard. Raised by an organic mom, she called me for help. I called our county extension agency at Cornell, who were pleased & excited to I.d. these benign bugs….their first call about them in NYC in over 35 years. She’s lived in harmony with them (as have her dogs, cats & visitors) for 8 years now, with never a rude encounter!!

  2. michele August 12, 2013 / 4:17 pm

    And hers die a natural death at the end of their season, so that’s probably what happened here. ( I hope.)

  3. gardendaze August 12, 2013 / 5:40 pm


    Thank you so much for sharing that. It’s so nice to have another positive story. On the same day this appeared on the blog, our local NBC affiliate posted a story about a playground that had to close because of “nasty” cicada killers.

    If anyone took the time to read the story, it pointed out that they were quite benign. But the headline actually used the word “nasty,” giving these gentle creatures a quite undeserved reputation.


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