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Man and Dog Attacked by... Hummingbird-Sized Wasp?

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Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. It sounds like a tabloid headline – man and dog frantically escape from huge flying wasp! But it’s a true story—I got an email from a gentleman saying that he and his dog was dive bombed by a hummingbird sized wasp that sent them fleeing into the safety of their house. It was a cicada killer wasp – probably a male, defending the underground burrow constructed by a solitary female member of this species – it is the structures she excavates, fills with adult cicadas whom she has paralyzed with her sting, and which she uses as a fresh food source for her larva to eat. As for danger, the male doesn’t even have a stinger and the female is not aggressive at all – these are solitary wasps who aren’t defending a colony. They reduce the cicada population and are considered beneficial insects.

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.