Cicada killer wasps make annual return 2012.07.25

Written by David Green.

cicada killerNo matter what you call them—cicada killers or sand hornets—the two-inch wasps look pretty scary.

Anna Kerns brought a deceased cicada killer into the Observer office Monday with the intent of warning other residents to be on the lookout—particularly children running barefoot through the grass.

The large wasps are often spotted this time of the year buzzing around their nests—a burrow dug in the ground by the females. Male wasps aggressively defend the nesting area, but they have no stingers. They appear to be ready to attack anything that moves, but their only concern is other male wasps. Males can jab with a sharp spine, but they’re not capable of stinging.

In fact, some people refer to the wasps as “gentle giants” that aren’t really interested in humans at all. They tend to fly away when swatted at rather than attack, but their fast-moving presence easily causes concern.

The females will sting, however, if stepped on or caught in clothing. Otherwise, a sting is unlikely. Anyone allergic to bee stings should seek medical attention.

Cicadas killers prefer dry, sandy soil and may be controlled by keeping your lawn well watered, especially in the area where they’re burrowing.

The wasps make their appearance when the calls of the cicada are heard. The female wasp will sting a cicada and bring it the nest for the wasp larvae to consume. The adult wasps feed on flower nectar.

Get brave and place a chair near a nest. Eventually you’ll see a large wasp carrying a cicada and dragging it underground to feed the children.

  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016