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The Cicada Killer Wasp: Cool Or Cruel

Have you heard of the cicada killer wasp? It's a cool name, but the bug itself is quite cruel.

A killer wasp sits on a tree

Photo: Sandy Richards

The cicada killer wasps are about two inches long, brown, with yellow markings.

The cicada killer is a species of wasp found in the United States, east of the Rocky Mountains. If you live in that region you might have seen them burrowing in the ground, where they build their nests.

The wasps are large, about two inches long, and brown in color, with bright yellow markings. They aren’t any particular threat to people, though of course if you bother them you might get stung.

Where Does The Cruel Part Come In?

Cicada killer wasps will bring down a female cicada mid-air and paralyze it with a sting. Having knocked down the cicada, the wasp will drag it back to its burrow, sometimes over hundreds of feet of ground.

The cicada is then dragged into the burrow, where the female wasp deposits an egg on the paralyzed insect so that it can hatch into a larva, and consume the host’s body. The poor cicada is actually still alive for all of this, even while it is being made a meal of! That’s cruel.

  • http://nilknarf.net Nilky

    There are also tarantula-killer wasps using a similar MO, only the tarantulas can't fly. They will repeatedly dive-bomb the spider until they expose the belly for the money shot.

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