It's a Giant Bee! No, it's a Giant Hornet! No, it's a Giant Wasp!

Okay, it really was a giant wasp...also known as a Cicada Killer or Sphecius speciosus. Easily the size of my hand, she was carrying a cicada that had to weigh more than she did!  Did I mention she was the size of my hand?!  I saw her fly across my yard and crash into the fence.  After she recovered from her crash, she began climbing/flying up the fence carrying her bug.  Check her out:


The kids and I actually had quite the time watching her climb up the fence (and fall and climb again!).  I know my camera isn't designed to film insects, but I couldn't resist trying:


And why does a huge wasp go to so much effort to carry a big old cicada up a fence?  Normal behavior for these ladies includes carrying dead cicadas up a tree, then gliding/flying down to her underground nest, and finally burying and sealing the bug in its own personal room where the carcass will wait for a baby (larval) Cicada Killer to emerge and eat it! 

Like any half-normal mom, I was a bit startled when I saw this huge stinging insect, but Cicada Killers are solitary wasps and the females only sting when provoked.  We kept our distance!  Males don't sting, but have been known to dive-bomb people who came too close!  I'm sure the drought here in Houston has made it easier for them to dig their burrows, and I'll admit...everyone here seemed to think she looked pretty cool.

7 comments:

laughwithusblog September 1, 2011 at 9:43 AM  

Eww! I hate it when they dive bomb!

Skye September 1, 2011 at 8:21 PM  

Eww! I just learned what these things are from a friend of mine. I think I Have seen them but never knew- and apparently they are out this year (again something else I did not know!) - They dig big holes in the lawn too. Nice. Scary!!! But intriguing at the same time.

Crystal Jigsaw September 2, 2011 at 1:30 PM  

OMG! I can't stand wasps, they seem to linger around you and you're supposed to stand there still, trying not to shoo them away - impossible!!

Following you from the Weekend Blog hop till you drop.
Have a great weekend - hope there's no more wasps!

CJ

Jansen Family September 2, 2011 at 3:45 PM  

Esther, It's a nasty thought, huh?! The nice side of that thought is that the males are the ones more likely to dive-bomb and they don't have stingers. Still, a wasp that size flying at my head...yikes!

Skye, Yeah...weird and cool at the same time! Apparently, they usually only show up in July and August. :)

CJ, I'm so glad you came by! I'm always torn between trying to shoo them away, ignoring them until they leave, and squashing them! I usually don't squash them because wasps and hornet often release a pheromone that tells others to come and sting!

Carla

Judy Haughton-James September 4, 2011 at 5:11 PM  

It is amazing to watch how even insects operate. There are a lot of wasps and bees around here but luckily I have not been stung by any!:) I am a new Follower from the Blog Hop.
Judy

Jansen Family September 7, 2011 at 7:38 PM  

Judy, I'm glad you haven't been stung yet! I took this picture and video from at least 15 feet away. Definitely did not want to risk contact with a stinger that size!

Carla

kewkew September 20, 2011 at 1:35 AM  

And I thought I had a problem with the normal wasps. Don't even want to think about these.