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Old 12-30-2008, 05:18 PM   #21
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Oh cool...I saw a cicada wasp in action this summer! On one hand, creepy, otoh, kinda neat. Feedin' her babies!

DG.....in graphing calculator terms, LCM. Great place for Wal-Mart gardening. Way too industry friendly. That's all I'm saying on the subject.

I'm glad we have THIS place.

Last edited by Prairiefreak; 12-30-2008 at 05:21 PM. Reason: just because
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Old 12-30-2008, 07:23 PM   #22
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I'm glad we have THIS place.
That's cool. Me too. I like it here.
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Old 12-30-2008, 07:36 PM   #23
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Finally, a site for native flora and fauna/sustainable ag./sustainable lifestyle enthusiasts. PF.
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Old 12-30-2008, 07:49 PM   #24
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Yes, "a site for native flora and fauna/sustainable ag./sustainable lifestyle enthusiasts."
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There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling. ~Mirabel Osler

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Old 12-31-2008, 11:49 AM   #25
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Cicada killers are in a different family (Sphecidae) than yellowjackets and hornets (Vespidae), and definitely are not as aggressive. I have witnessed large numbers of them going about their business in proximity to hundreds of people at a large shopping center, and they just totally ignored the large bipeds in their presence. For more information on these fascinating insects as well as links to still more, see http://tinyurl.com/a3nj45

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Originally Posted by Smart Red View Post
I tend to abide by the live and let live philosophy even with the arthropod varieties that live here. Exceptions are female mosquitoes who are attempting to taste, carpenter ants too near the house, and Japanese Beetles. Even Japanese Lady Bird beetles, most of them smart enough to stay outside, are safe from my wrath although I'd rather they all GO HOME.

I do, however, have a healthy respect (fear) for wasps.

We were building a retaining wall one hot summer day when I noticed a LARGE wasp-like insect sunning herself on a newly placed block. She was as leery of me as I was of her. She would pivot on her block to watch my activities. Every now and then she would fly off - I feared to attack - and then return to her perch.

I did go for the protection of a large can of raid, but rather than just go for the kill, I stayed my hand and continued working, watching, and worrying. "One false move," I told my spouse, "and she's compost!".

Preoccupied with finishing the wall, I never did watch to see where she went on those many trips off the block, however, we did spot her skimming at grass level once, trying to fly with a full grown cicada in her grasp.

At day's end, we stopped work. I rushed in and searched on-line to find out who she was. A cicada wasp. She had evidently decided the soft, moist soil held back by the retaining wall would make an ideal nursery for her babies.

I had never seen - or heard of - a cicada wasp before. Never saw her again. Still, I list her as one more example of the rich variety of life that shares this land with us.
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Old 12-31-2008, 12:24 PM   #26
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Default Cicada wasp

I saw a cicada wasp last summer for the first time. They are really huge and frightening looking! The females rarely sting, though, and the males can't sting. I've started doing some research on wasps and bees because so many are attracted to our garden. I had no idea that there were so many different kinds of native bees. I also didn't know that honeybees are not native to the US. At least one species of yellowjacket is also not native. They are very aggressive and are responsible for most stings which people blame on "bees" in general. There are literally hundreds of other species of bees flies and wasps that mimic yellowjackets. Most of these are very unlikely to sting because they are solitary bees (they don't have a hive to protect) or they can't sting at all (the flies). I encounter them in the garden all the time. You can brush them aside, and they will just fly off. Some of them have really interesting behaviors. Male carpenter bees, for instance defend a territory from other male bees. If you throw a pebble into the air near a male carpenter bee he will zoom over as if to chase it off. He may even zoom over to you if you wave your hand in the air, but he will quickly realize that you are not another male bee and fly away again.

I guess I get a little carried away when talking about insects these days. It's pretty funny when you think that as a kid I could barely stand to look at a picture of some insects let alone the real thing. Pictures of female termites still give me the willies. They are so squashy looking!
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Old 12-31-2008, 12:30 PM   #27
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Here's a picture of the Cicada killer wasp. At least I think I uploaded it. We'll see when I post this.
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Bug Identification Resources-wasp-s_3280.jpg  
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Old 12-31-2008, 07:35 PM   #28
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Excellent picture. They're really big! Saw some at the Kane County Flea Market this year, flying just above the ground, looking for cicadas. People were freaking out! Thanks for the picture, kzoot! PF
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Old 01-02-2009, 09:04 AM   #29
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We had a swarm of honeybees pass through our parking lot on a busy day one summer. Bees in the process of swarming are also very unlikely to sting. They are intent on one thing only, and that's following the queen. In any case it caused complete panic. People were throwing themselves to the ground and grabbing their children and running. I don't blame them. It was pretty awe inspiring even knowing that they wouldn't attack anyone.

By the way, can anyone tell me how I acquired the word Carbon under my name? I don't know where it came from.
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Old 01-02-2009, 09:14 AM   #30
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