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Cicadas and the killers

June 29, 2010

The cicadas are officially out in north Georgia; there are so many of them in the pecan tree over my yard that my funny little dog has twice freaked out and attempted to bark down the incredibly loud chorus.

If I needed any additional proof, lately I am finding a lot of the shed cicada nymphal skins around the garden; this one was on the stem of a sunflower along the fence.

When you see these, consider that the Cicada nymph has spent 13 or 17 years underground, surviving by sucking on plant roots. The adults looks a similar to a giant often colorful horsefly with over sized clear wings; these wings are what make the noise we are all so familiar with. With the cicadas background music just now cranking up, now is a good time to be a nature nerd and learn something new by at least skimming over this “written for regular people” cicada page. (It has pretty pictures too.)

So what about the killers?

For years, my side yard (and more recently the back patio area) has hosted an expanding colony of Cicada Killer wasps, which are the largest hornet looking wasps you will ever see. The colonies spread out along the alley side of my house every year, each female digging their solitary burrow surrounded by a small pile of excavated red clay.

They are quick to try and back anything down that approaches and while very intimidating to those unfamiliar, they are all bark and no bite.

Personally, I like them hanging around. They are harmless and they are better than watchdogs to keep people from snooping around the side of my house this time of year.

nature nerd mode (ON)
The really cool thing though- they go catch and subdue cicadas but the sting doesn’t kill them. Instead, paralysis sets in and the live cicada is hauled down to a chamber in the burrow and tucked in next to a freshly laid egg.
The live host is then…. well you get the picture.
nature nerd mode (OFF)

They should be here any day now.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Mrs. Cohutt permalink
    July 2, 2010 9:46 pm

    your nature nerd mode is ALWAYS on.

  2. July 2, 2010 9:55 pm


    Mainly just nerd mode actually.


  1. Cicadas and the Killers II « Behind cohutt's fence
  2. Cicada killers working hard « Behind cohutt's fence

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