Eastern Cicada Killer Wasp

Chicken Mushroom on the ridge trail through Durand Eastman
Chicken Mushroom on the ridge trail through Durand Eastman

I had to tear myself away from the live feed from Sturgis, South Dakota. The camera is positioned over Sturgis Liquor across the street from the “Knuckle Saloon.” There’s a flashing sign out front reading “Jack Daniels Apparel Sold Here” and a van, parked under the sign, advertises “Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey.” It’s no wonder the people on the street walk so funny.

We watched an HP Lovecraft documentary last night. I’m not recommending it but it did color our encounter this afternoon with an Eastern Cicada Killer Wasp. Peggi identified the creature with her iNaturalist app and we were relieved to learn the “Killer Wasp” part is not where the emphasis should be. The huge, black and white striped wasp is not particularly dangerous to humans. It is the “Cicada Killer” part of the name that tells the Lovecraftian story. What we were looking at, a creature darting around on our driveway, was the wasp trying to kill the Cicada.

NYT featured an article about how readers were coping with the pandemic blues. A Milwaukee reader said, “I’ve been painting rocks and leaving them on paths at parks for a happy little surprise for someone.” Here in Rochester we too have come across those damn things and I can’t tell you how annoying they are out in nature. More annoying than those stone piles that people make on beaches.


2 Replies to “Eastern Cicada Killer Wasp”

  1. When I was a kid I read all of Lovecraft’s books. Even then I knew he was mentally ill. They don’t really make any sense. People have been stacking rocks for thousands of years (I.e. : stupas). They don’t bother me. But I’d throw the painted ones into the ponds.

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