Tongue River Winery         

                       Quality Made Wines with fruit exclusively from the Northern Plains!  


Eastern Cicada Killers

Posted on August 17, 2010 at 9:50 PM

I knew we should be seeing them mid-August. For three years now, we've been hosts to eastern cicada killers, the largest wasp you're ever likely to see (think 2.5 inches long!). They nest in the ground, and sting and bring back cicadas for their young. Two cicadas are left for female eggs, one for males. When the eggs hatch, the wasp larva feed on the cicadas all winter and remain underground until the following summer. When we heard the cicadas the past two weeks, I kept looking for the big wasps and finally saw one today. They probably could sting, but aren't really interested in us. They're busy getting those cicadas back to their nests.


Two colleges out east have been studying these insects, and I've sent them some two years in a row. In all of Montana, they've only had three sightings reported: two near Bighorn, and our vineyard. Call me or email me if you find them too. Here's what they look like— they're gorgeous: