Cicada killers, Sphecius speciosus, are large and solitary wasps that are widespread east of the Rocky Mountains and are active from mid July to September. Males emerge first. They stake out and defend territories in anticipation of females that emerge about a week later. Both males and females drink nectar for their own sustenance. Female cicada killers hunt cicadas by sight, sometimes capturing them in flight, and deliver a paralyzing sting. The living cicada is stuffed down a burrow as provisions for the developing cicada killer larva.
What's Bugging You?
Dr. Arthur V. Evans teams up with WCVE Public Radio producer Steve Clark for a weekly feature, “What’s Bugging You?,” which airs during NPR’s Morning Edition. The program takes its name from another of Evans’ books “What’s Bugging You – A Fond Look at the Animals We Love to Hate.”
Tune-in each Tuesday at 8:45 a.m. or at 5:44 p.m. on 88.9 WCVE, Richmond’s Public Radio station.
The name "mantis" means soothsayer – an attribution relating to it’s typical “prayer-like” stance.
Mantids, with their huge compound eyes mounted on a triangular shaped head, are literally able to look over their shoulder. With a combination of incredibly powerful forelegs, camouflage, and stealth mantids can quickly seize unwitting prey in a vice-like grip and devour it alive.
As with the black widow spider, male mantids occasionally become the unfortunate meal of the female. However, his sacrifice provides much needed protein for the female's egg production.
WCVE Public Radio Producer Steve Clark and Dr. Art Evans discuss the role insects play in Forensic Entomology.
Brood nineteen of the thirteen year (periodical) cicada can be heard around Virginia and won't be seen or heard until 2024. To track their locations or to just learn more, visit magicicada.org.
Periodical cicadas are found only in eastern North America. There are seven species -- four with 13-year life cycles and three with 17-year cycles. The three 17-year species are generally northern in distribution, while the 13-year species are generally southern and midwestern.
Green June Beetles – members of the Scarab family of beetles – are out in vast numbers this time of year. Seen flying low to the ground, the females scan for the ideal grassy place to lay their eggs. Green June Beetles can be found during hot summer days across the eastern United States.
European Hornets, also known as Japanese Hornets, first hitched their way to America in the 1840s. These large hornets can be found throughout the Eastern United States, with their paper nests hidden away in tree holes, under steps or in out buildings.
Dr. Art Evans interviews Jessica Speart the author of several mysteries and a freelance journalist in wildlife enforcement issues. Her latest book is the non-fiction thriller Winged Obsession which exposes a world of greed and smuggling – the illegal and lucrative trade in exotic butterflies.
Some refer to Water Striders as “Jesus bugs” because of their ability to “walk on water.” Specially designed legs allow them to displace their weight across the surface tension of water. They also have waxy hairs that make them virtually waterproof.
WCVE Public Radio producer Steve Clark and entomologist Dr. Art Evans talked with best selling author Amy Stewart about her latest book Wicked Bugs: The Louse That Conquered Napoleon’s Army & Other Diabolical Insects. Her most recent effort details some 100 "bug" culprits that have or have had the most dangerous effects on humans.
Find out more and listen to an extended interview with Amy here.
What does one do these days if they are interested in data gathering? WCVE Public Radio producer Steve Clark presented the question to Dr. Art Evans. He offered up answers from an entomology perspective, as well as other popular “citizen science” opportunities.