Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Not a Honeybee Exactly

The last few weeks, I've been kind of freaked out. This is the first July we've spent in this house, and it appears that our new house is a super magnet for Sphecius speciosus -- the eastern cicada killer wasp.

These wasps are whizzing about all over the place. I've barely been able to walk outside without bumping into one of them. And they're mating. Seriously, these guys need to get a room.

Furthermore, our yard appears to provide just the kind of digs they like -- lots of sandy soil. They're burrowing to create nests, and we see the evidence of their construction all along our driveway and around the yard.

I know that they mostly just eat nectar and sap, but they're really big -- the females are about 2 inches long -- so they freak me out a little.

Here are a couple snaps of a wasp that found a cicada. She's brought it back to her nest so that she can lay an egg in it.

 It's hard to tell from these photos, but she's actually kind of irked because while she was out hunting, we covered her burrow with a layer of compost, and she can't find it. (We didn't do it on purpose; my husband and my dad just happened to be giving the lawn a layer of compost.)

I can't believe how strong these wasps are. The one with the cicada carried it up at least 30 or 40 feet into the air. Pretty amazing. Makes me glad they're not any bigger -- they'd be unstoppable!

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