This Killer Insect Has Been Spotted in Oelwein, But Don’t Panic
So, what's in a nickname? We all have one, or more. Mine was "J-Dogg" as a kid. Very 90s, no? Some of us have many nicknames. The one that applies to a breed of insect buzzing around Oelwein and Northeastern Iowa has a pretty scary nickname, but don't worry too much, it really isn't interested in you. The Sphecius speciosus, a type of wasp, is best known by a fright-inducing nickname: Cicada Killer Wasps. Oh, and they've arrived!
Cicada Killer Wasps are only here to feast on cicadas
Wasps in general get kind of a bad wrap. Their stings hurt and unlike bees, they don't die when they getcha. They nest in the WORST places, and they don't even give us honey. However, Sphecius speciosus or, cicada killer, is unlikely to create many nuisances to humans. Yes, they're very large and noticeable (see below), but they're still not interested in humans unless they feel threatened. In fact, these waps are about the tamest with regards to their relationship with humans. Yellowjackets and hornets can be quite mean. They very often sting humans even if unprovoked according to Lawn and Pest Solutions. If they do, they'll sting. Otherwise, they're just hungry.
The below Facebook post shows 2" cicada killers. That is about the full length of an adult cicada killer wasp.
Why are these guys here now?
This is a massive cicada-hatching year with the "Brood X" hatchings. These buys have begun heading west from the east coast and are all over Iowa and the Midwest now. Hence, the cicada killing wasp has entered the picture. But once again, as the nickname implies, they have no interest in humans. Enjoy your feast, by winged friends!
No Squirrel Monkey for You, Bub! These Animals Are ILLEGAL in Iowa
See How School Cafeteria Meals Have Changed Over the Past 100 Years