Yesterday my daughter and I were filling up the kiddy pool when I heard the loudest, most bizarre cicada chirp ever, followed by the sound of something hitting the ground.
I quickly looked to see a cicada struggling to get away from what I believed to be a large hornet (the kind my grandparents called Japanese hornets). Within a matter of seconds the cicada’s legs stopped wiggling around and the hornet grasped the larger insect and began to drag it off. I had no idea that hornets ate cicadas!
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Believing that if you don’t even understand what’s going on in your own backyard you really probably shouldn’t pretend to understand anything more complicated, I took to the internets to learn more about what I’d just seen.
Turns out this hornet is actually a wasp called the Cicada Killer. And while only the females can sting they don’t actually eat the cicadas they paralyze with their sting. These hard working mammas actively hunt cicadas larger than themselves in order to ambush, sting, paralyze, and then drag the much heavier cicada back to their nest.
Where they lay their eggs INSIDE the cicada. And the insects eat their way out.
Yep, just like so many working moms, all that work is just done so that the female’s offspring has a nice place to live surrounded by terrific food. Amazing. And, as we’re talking about a cicada as both room and board, totally disgusting. Last night I had nightmares about babies of all types clawing out of animals and insects. Hope you don’t. Especially if you need to get to work early tomorrow morning.