Cicada-killer Wasp

Among a tangle of vines in this same thicket, a shimmer of glistening copper caught my eye. It was a very large and frightening-looking insect sitting on a leaf in the sun. A Cicada-killer wasp. 

Its body was long and black, with a distinct pattern of yellow stripes, and its wings were a beautiful translucent copper. It was sitting with wings folded on a large, leathery-looking leaf of a vine that I think was some kind of greenbrier. 

Cicada-killers are fearsome-looking solitary wasps that dig underground burrows for their larvae and feed them with paralyzed cicadas. They are the largest wasps found in Georgia and are considered beneficial because they help to control cicada populations. The sting of a cicada-killer wasp is powerful but they are not aggressive at all, and they do not normally sting people, only cicadas.

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