Biology Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for biology researchers, academics, and students. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I've had a giant wasp hanging around outside my window the past few days, so I've resolved to learn more about it. I believe it is a male Cicada Killer, because it displays the following behavior:

  • During the day, it is extremely localized in a region less than a square meter.
  • It lands or hovers in the same grassy area all day, and occasionally chases off other wasps that come near it.

First question: Am I correct that this is a male? The females should be off burrowing or catching Cicadas, right? He is quite large (2 inches?), but I don't have a female for comparison in terms of morphology.

Second question: Where does this guy go at night? He leaves before sunset (~5 pm) and shows up again in the morning (~10 am).

Third: If he's around, I should be able to find some female burrows in the area as well, right? Where should I look for these for confirmation?

The question is admittedly a little vague since I am just trying to confirm I understand the behavior I am observing, but I've tried to isolate the specific questions I want answered.

EDIT: Finally got some pictures, only these two came out.

enter image description here enter image description here

share|improve this question
Can you post any images? – Devashish Das Aug 1 '14 at 16:58
Awesome pictures! – user1167442 Jul 18 '15 at 3:58
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Yes, it's a male.



Wasps are in general very territorial. Even a paper bag can scare them as they take it as enemy hive. More on this: Do fake wasp nests actually fool wasps?

Where does this guy go at night?

Wasps are known to be lazy(less active) at night. Probably they go to the nearby mud nest.

If he's around, I should be able to find some female burrows in the area as well, right?

yes, there are chances of finding a female burrow near by, as they rarely fly away farther than the nest. Otherwise, there main food(cicada) is very heavy for them to carry to the nest.

follow this if you want to find it's borrow:

share|improve this answer
It is extremely difficult to get close to this guy to check, but 1) I don't see a stinger, 2) cannot confirm or deny spurs, and 3) doesn't appear to have the "fuzzy" thorax. But man this guy is big - does the extremely territorial behavior match the female? – cduston Aug 1 '14 at 19:42

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.