Cicada Killers; Menacing Predators or Ugly Butterflies

This is the Bee Smart website but you won’t beelieve how often I get asked about other flying critters.  That’s OK though.  Most of the time it leads to some very cool teaching opportunities about bee conservation.

One of the most trepidatious questions involves the Cicada Killer Wasps.  Yes, they are actually wasps and they are really big, really ugly and really aggressive.  They scare the beejeebers out of most people.

The female is the larger of the two and also the predator.  She is a hunter of other big, ugly insects that most people don’t want around.  She does have a stinger but it’s pretty much reserved for prey.  It’s a rare thing indeed to hear of a female Cicada Killer stinging a person or animal unless they were actively trying to make her sting them.

The males, those wild flying acrobats that seem to dart aggressively at anything near them?  They couldn’t hurt you if they wanted to.  They are males and as such, they are born without a stinger.  They couldn’t hurt you if they tried.

Yes, the female is a devastating predator, only to other insects, and the males are aggressive acrobats that are pretty much not much more than ugly butterflies.

When you see them, don’t bee afraid.  They are pretty much harmless to people and animals.  They also put on a great aerobatics show.

Author: Big Bear

Owner of BBE-Tech Apiary Services and professional apiarist. Beekeeping instructor at Metro Community College. Exec. Producer, Director and Host of Bee Smart beekeeping project podcast and videos.

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