On a recent Hudson Valley hike on the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, a cicada killer was caught in the act. It's important to not confuse them with the much talked about 'murder hornets'.

The sphecius speciosus or cicada killer (cicada hawk) comes out every summer and can be active for up to 75 days according to Cornell University. Unlike most bees and wasps they use their stinger to capture prey as opposed to guarding their nests. Male cicada killers don't even have a stinger and females will only sting humans if handled roughly.

Asian giant hornets aka 'murder hornets', on the other hand, are aggressive and pack a pretty serious bite that is very painful for humans. Thankfully, despite recent sightings on the west coast, they are not expected to make their way to New York anytime soon.

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The sting of the female cicada killer paralyzes the cicada and that is actually an important part of reproduction for the species. They burrow into the ground and lay eggs in cicada cells then plug up the hole. It takes between two and three days for them to hatch. According to the Smithsonian, from there they enter the pupal stage. A cocoon made of silk and sand is made and that's where it'll develop until it's ready to come out the next summer.

Have you seen any cicada killers around the Hudson Valley yet?

Photo Credit: Anthony Verano
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