Saturday, August 31, 2013

Attacked by cicada killers!

The perpetrator: cicada killer wasp.
Photo by Fritz Geller-Grimm
via Wikimedia Commons
A typical summer afternoon: hot and sunny. I pancaked myself in the only spot of full sun on our practically bare, dry grass (Mom doesn't believe in watering it) by the pond and snoozed. I bothered no one, or so I thought.

A wasp thought otherwise. Perhaps my bulk was in the way. Perhaps the wasp mistook me for a giant cicada. In any case, I did not deserve to be 1) woken up; 2) assaulted; 3) left in great pain for some time.

The female Bembix americana apparently stings a cicada and paralyzes it, then manages to fly it into its burrow, then lays an egg on it (or them--sometimes she will stuff two or three) and closes up the burrow with dirt. When the egg hatches, there's plenty of food for it. "Nests often are made in the full sun where vegetation is sparse," says Wikipedia.

Note to Mom: do more watering.

Fortunately, the wasp did not attempt to drag me into its burrow. However, when Mom tried to revive her dying plants by finally turning on the hose a couple of days later, she, too, was stung. Which is really too bad, because she's allergic, and this one little pinch put her in a stupor for days.

 Wikipedia's sources claim that these cicada killers "do not land on people and attempt to sting." Well, I guess they don't attempt, they simply achieve. Nowhere, however, was there mention of these vicious killers' completely unjustified attacks on the canine species. Just one more reason not to trust Wikipedia. And to keep a nice, green, lush, lawn.