A Summer Wasp Visits

CICADA KILLER

So far I have counted 12 cicada killer holes in our yard. Female cicada killers capture cicadas, paralyzing them with a sting. After paralyzing a cicada, the female wasp holds it upside down beneath her and takes off toward her hole. This return flight to the hole is not easy because the cicada is often more than twice her weight. After putting one or more cicadas in her nest cell, the female deposits an egg on a cicada and closes the cell with dirt. Male eggs are laid on a single cicada but female eggs are given two or sometimes three cicadas; this is because the female wasp is twice as large as the male and must have more food. New nest cells are dug as necessary off of the main hole tunnel and a single hole may eventually have 10 or more nest cells. The egg hatches in one or two days, and the cicadas serve as food for the grub.

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