Cicada Killer - Sphecius speciosus


Female Eastern Cicada Killers are at times attacked by birds who are attempting to steal food that is being brought back to the nest.  Larvae are vulnerable to being killed by mold from fly eggs being laid on the cicada before being eaten (Dambach and Good, 1943).  Sphecius speciosus females will sting humans and pets if provoked, but are generally passive.  Poison transferred through a sting is nearly harmless to humans. 

Male cicada killers use the buzzing sound from their wings as a form of communication to threaten other males who may enter their territory (Animal Diversity Web).  Although males have shown a more hostile behavior than females, Sphecius speciosus is, again, known for its passivity in regards to humans (RedOrbit, 2013).  The potential of male cicada killers interaction with humans, too, is limited due to their lack of a stinger; however, they will fly into humans if threatened (Alcock, 1998).  Males will chase away anything that crosses into the territory around their nest. At times they have even found chasing after inanimate objects.  In the case that a female flies through a territory, she will be chased by all males that notice her (Dambach and Good, 1943).  Females are only able to mate once, so the pursuit of a fertile female by males can become intense.  Ultimately, the fastest and most mobile males will be successful (Coehlo, 1997).

Additional interactions of Sphecius speciosus are essential to that of other pages on the website.  For more information, see: