August 19, 2004

We all thought it was over. We thought we wouldn't have to witness senseless cicada deaths for another 17 years. Though that may be true of the periodical bugs that have passed on, there's still some insect carnage left in this summer.

Yes, I have seen my first cicada killer.

I passed a strange electrical-sounding noise bicycling to work this morning, and I turned around to investigate. There was a big blue-green cicada on its back, trying to flip itself over with its wings, and consequently spinning rapidly. On top was a huge wasp piercing the abdomen of the cicada with its egg laying apparatus.

Did I mention the spinning? The whole mess, just spinning.

Gruesome and spinning.

Then it took off! The composite insect managed to right itself, or, well, overturn* itself, and fly away. About 20 feet away, where it hit a bush and plummeted, and I decided it was time to get my butt to work and write my paper. Which I'm not doing.

*Right side up depends on which half of the monster you ask, no?

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Incidentally, this was a big bug; the cicada was about twice the girth and 1 1/2 times the length of the 17 year bugs**. It was white, black, blue and green, and had a 4-plus inch wingspan.

**I almost wrote "of the previous infestation" here, but depending on how you measure the size of the total infestation, well, let's say I'd be exaggerating.


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