During the last few weeks in Rondeau, the most common question at the Visitor Centre was about the large, sandy hills popping up at beach access 9 and various other locations in the park.

Sandy pile - Ric McArthur

It didn’t take us long to realize that these were the entrances to the large, underground burrows of the Cicada Killer Wasps. These underground tunnels can be over a foot long and have as many as 15 egg-shaped chambers off the main branch.

Cicada Killer Wasp - Ric McArthur







The female wasp will provision each chamber with food for her grub-like larvae to eat as they grow. It may be obvious that their favourite food is Cicadas (the noisy insects of late summer). The female wasp uses her large stinger to paralyze the unlucky Cicadas who are then carried back to her burrow. She stocks each chamber with up to 3 paralyzed Cicadas and a single egg. Once the hungry larvae hatch, they feed on the defenceless insects until only the exoskeleton remains.

Cicada Killer Wasp with prey - Ric McArthur







In the fall, the larvae spin silken cases and overwinter in their chambers. They will emerge next summer and begin the process again.

Although these wasps may look menacing, Cicadas are the only ones that need to be worried about being stung by these large wasps. Females are actually quite docile when compared to more social species of wasps. The females usually only live for 30 days, so if you have these amazing wasps on or near your property, enjoy the show…they won’t be around too much longer!

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