The cicada killer is a large digger wasp. They use cicadas as prey. The wasps are so named because they hunt cicadas. The female wasps paralyze the cicadas with their stinger and provision their nests/burrows with them. Cicada killers exert a measure of natural control on cicada populations and thus may directly benefit the deciduous trees upon which their cicada prey feed.
Although these wasps are large, females are not aggressive and rarely sting unless grasped roughly or stepped on with bare feet. Males aggressively defend their perch on nesting sites against rival males but they have no stinger.
(Pictured is a male cicada killer wasp.)
To learn more about these fascinating wasps visit Professor Chuck Holliday's website.
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