For the past few days my yard has been hosting some fascinating flying insects of Biblical proportions that zoom and zip around like tiny toy airplanes. Bug inquisitor that I am, I went out yesterday morning among maybe four or five of them and stood still. They tested me a bit and after deeming me trustworthy, I pulled my camera from my pocket and took a quick shot as one lit on a holly. A little later my neighbor called with dire warnings about the "yellow jackets" in his yard and to say he had called an exterminator. My panicked response went something like Hold on a minute buddy...I don't think they are yellow jackets and I have a photograph so let's see what they are first. I googled "huge flying insect" and within a few clicks, and thanks to my photo, I was able to correctly identify them as Cicada Killers. Aha! I suspected they were somehow linked with those cicadas that incise the thick summer night air with loud and unmusical orchestration. I gave my neighbor the info, but as he doesn't appreciate the bug world as much as I do, the exterminator was soon out with a long handled spray pumping pesticide along the outside of his house.
I had just been reading about cicada killers and watching a youtube video of a one carrying a large stunned cicada to its burrow when Gary called for me to come witness the exact same thing in his yard. Even he and the bug guy and found the murder scene fascinating.
The exterminator did probably knock off a few useful spiders, but from the looks of Gary's yard today, he did little but annoy the intended targets. I can see from a distance that they are still zooming around. For the most part, I believe that nature rights itself, and that there is a reason we are having these two inch specialty wasps this year. For years I have watched the seasons of birds and insects, and no species seems to stay around too long.