Cicada Mania

The Cicada Mania Blog: News, Findings, and Discoveries About Cicadas.

Buy a Cicada T-shirt, Mug, or Hat!

August 5, 2012

Cicada Killer Wasps Are Busy Killing Cicadas

Filed under: Cicada Killer Wasps,Video — by @ 9:39 am

If you’re in North America in mid to late summer, you might notice an abundance of large black and yellow wasps flying around your yard or local park. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll spot one of these wasps with a chubby green, black & white Tibicen cicada in its grasp.

T. tibicen and Cicada Killer Wasp

These wasps are appropriately named Cicada Killer Wasps. There are many species of Cicada Killer Wasps, but the most well known is the Eastern Cicada Killer Wasp (Sphecius speciosus). These wasps paralyze and bring the cicadas to their burrow, where the cicada is used as food for a Cicada Killer Wasp larvae. The best Cicada Killer Wasp resource on the web is Prof. Chuck Holliday’s Biology of cicada killer wasps. If you’re interested in these wasps, visit Prof. Holiday’s site now.

People fear these wasps, because they are large and we tend to fear stinging insects, but truthfully these wasps are not interested in stinging people — they are interested in stinging cicadas. Unlike more aggressive species of stinging insects, Cicada Killer Wasps will probably only sting you if you step on, harass or otherwise physically contact the creature. If you don’t want to be stung, don’t harass the wasps. Not need to panic. No need to bomb your local environment with pesticides.

Take a look at this stunning picture of a Cicada Killer Wasp holding a cicada while perched on Elias Bonaros’ finger. Neither Elias or the wasp was harmed. The cicada was harmed, and likely eaten by a wasp larvae.


Elias recorded this footage of a Cicada Killer “mating ball”. If you weren’t terrified by the image of the Cicada Killer clutching the Tibicen on Elias’ finger wasn’t scary enough, check this out:

Another video of a Cicada Killer Wasp

Cicada Killer recorded by Joe Green

March 7, 2010

10 new Tibicen photos from Elias Bonaros

Don’t try this:

T. tibicen and Cicada Killer Wasp

Elias was kind enough to send us 10 Tibicen photos he took in 2009. Photos include Tibicen tibicen (chloromera), Tibicen lyricen, Tibicen tibicen & Cicada Killer Wasp on Elias’ fingers, Tibicen canicularis and Tibicen linnei.

You can view the gallery page for all, or visit the individual photos:

Female Tibicen tibicen eclosing.

Female Tibicen tibicen eclosing.

T. lyricen male in the teneral phase.

Tibicen tibicen female with emerald green eyes.

Cicada Killer Wasp and Tibicen tibicen on Elias’ finger.

Cicada Killer Wasp and Tibicen tibicen on Elias’ fingers.

Tibicen canicularis eclosing.

Tibicen canicularis eclosing.

T. canicualris eclosing in Lakewood NJ.

T. linnei teneral and its exuvia.

August 23, 2008

Cicada vs. Cicada Killer

Filed under: Cicada Arts,Cicada Killer Wasps,Pop Culture — by @ 8:26 am

A cicada vs. Cicada Killer Wasp, typically isn’t much of a battle — the cicada typically loses.

My friend David Wilson made a display out of an old clock featuring a cicada and Cicada Killer Wasp locked in battle (or the wasp going grocery shopping for its larvae, depending on how you want to look at it).

Check it out, I think it’s very cool.

Cicada vs. Cicada Killer Wasp

Cicada vs. Cicada Killer Wasp by David Wilson

David said:

The thing is a diorama I made of an unnoticed moment in history. With New Brunswick [New Jersey], as seen from Highland Park circa 1900, in the back round.

August 17, 2008

Cicada Killer!

Filed under: Cicada Killer Wasps,Video — by @ 7:47 am

Here’s a video of a Cicada Killer wasp captured by my friend David Wilson in Lambertville, NJ. You can hear the cicadas in the background, so you know the wasp is quite frustrated.

August 9, 2008

Cicada Killer Wasps

Filed under: Cicada Killer Wasps,Joe Green — by @ 11:54 am

Now is the time for big, meaty Tibicen cicadas, and nothing loves Tibicens more than Cicada Killer Wasps. Cicada Killer Wasps are large wasps that use living cicada bodies to nourish their wasp larvae.

People fear these wasps, but they’re not interested in people — only cicadas. They’ll only attack people if people attack them. So keep your distance, but don’t bother to kill them. Respect them, but don’t wreck them.

Prof. Chuck Holiday has the best information about these wasps.

Joe Green sent us this photo of a Cicada Killer Wasp clutching a cicada. See if you can spot the cicada under the wasp.

Cicada Killer Wasp with Cicada in tow by Joe Green