A month ago I wept for the unending rain that had kiboshed my plans to observe, interact with, and capture photographs and videos of the local cicada-killer wasps (Sphecius speciosus). Their massive colony, which exists right outside my front door and wraps all the way around to the back patio, flourishes only for two or three weeks early in summer (with a week or two on either side as their numbers increase and subsequently dwindle). The last such behemoth I saw was a female, and she flitted about the patio more than two weeks ago.
But today brought me an amazing gift, albeit one quite surprising.
Another female flew by me only a minute or two ago. I stood on the patio watching for another insect (more on that later) when she buzzed my face so near that the wash from her wings gently caressed my nose like a spring zephyr. I watched her coming and going. Her size an impressive acknowledgment of immensity, this small giant flew as though on the most critical mission imaginable. Being a female, I know her cause: hunt cicadas so that she might give hope to next year’s generation.
Yet I fear the cicadas are scarce now. Their varied songs have disappeared in recent weeks, their numbers reduced as they too fulfilled their dying quest: procreation.
I’m also left wondering if this latecomer is even from the same colony I know and love. Perhaps she’s from somewhere else, from a group of these leviathan predators that follows a different schedule.
If she is from my local colony, I know for a fact that no males exist with which she can mate. If that didn’t happen before they died, her intent will never be realized.