My daughter sent me this photo last night while she and her family were visiting the park. “What does this mean she asked?” I figured since you and many others were probably asking the same thing I’d explain.
FIRST OFF – Don’t panic. The Cicada Killer Wasps are NOT after humans. And, they are not the killer bees/wasps/aliens that have been in the news as of late. Do an online search and you can learn all sorts of things that will lessen the fright-factor!
Ranger Vin told me the wasps nest in that same area each year and keep down the cicada population. They are non-aggressive towards humans but do make burrows into the ground which is where if accidently stepped upon, they will sting in defense. The wasp kills the cicada, drags it into his hole and lays their eggs on it. Pretty neat huh?
So, just walk another way to the pond or trails and soon they’ll be gone as the cicadas will have emerged and if not become dinner for a wasp, will hop from plant to plant eating, mating and laying eggs for the 14-60 days they live. By the way, I was told they have wings but don’t actually “fly” away, rather they kind of hop and often are confused with Locusts. An entirely different pest!