Hornets are bad news in pretty much every situation, but that goes double if they happen to be right on your property. It isn't a fate I would wish on my worst enemy, but when a hornet infestation happens, it gives us a chance for an up-close look at these monsters…and sometimes, they can surprise us.
This is the scene that Redditor UncleDmerr woke up to find on his deck earlier this week. Those are all dead cicadas that were caught and placed in storage by a Sphecius speciosus, more commonly known as the cicada killer hornet.
Here's a closer look at one of the male cicada hunters. Could its stinger be any bigger? I can't imagine how much it'd hurt to find yourself on the wrong end of that.
Luckily for us humans, this species use its stinger primarily as a means to paralyze and kill cicadas and not as a defense mechanism.
But that's not to say that these cicada hunters aren't territorial. Males are notoriously protective. They will swarm you if you get too close to their burrows, but they will rarely sting.
As you probably guessed by the name, cicada killers feed primarily on cicadas that they kill and store in their nests and burrows. In the case of our Redditor, one bug thought the spaces between the boards of his deck would make nice homes. The only problem is there's not enough room for all those dead cicadas!
As I mentioned, cicada hunters pose very little threat to humans. The only surefire way to get them to sting you is to accidentally step on one of them with bare feet. Still, they can be pretty freaky to encounter if you're not prepared.