We were out walking the other day when we noticed a group of these creepy giant bee or wasp looking things inside an abandoned record store downtown. It was so strange seeing these giant bugs on a faded poster of Elvis. The kids said it looked creepy.
The kids were glad there was glass between us. As it turns out, we had nothing to worry about. These are cicada killer wasps, very docile and pretty harmless to humans. The males don’t even have a sting!
These little buggers are apparently pretty friendly. They’re more likely to flee than attack. They only sting if they feel their lives are in danger, and a human can barely feel it. Their bite is so mild it can’t even break human skin.
As you can see against the tape and my hand, they are pretty big. The females are larger than the males, so when they kill a cicada, they lay the male eggs on one body and the females on sevaral. The adults apparently eat pollen and other plant matter, like fruit. This means, for wasps, they have no need to be dangerous. They just need enough venom to kill a cicada. They carry them back to nests dug in the ground. They’re typically born in June and July and die in September to October, which means there’s not a lot of time in the year to see them.
What these wasps were doing in that store, we may never know. The kids wonder if they’ll die in there or if they’ll find a way out. We’re pretty sure there was some killing each other going on in there as that’s how the males determine breeding rights, but beyond that, who knows. What we do know is that gave us a cool amount of creep factor for the day, which made for cool stories of giant bees, and that it turned into a pretty cool lesson…involving “killer bees!” Yeah, it’s that kind of awesome.