Giant cicada-killer wasps 'unusually active' in Northeastern US

GIANT “cicada killer” wasps – eerily similar to the feared 'murder hornet' – have been spotted unusually active in the Northeastern US.

The Connecticut native has instilled panic in many who mistook the wasp for it's near-identical twin.

Both wasp species grow to more than an inch long, scientists with the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station said.

But the panic may be unneeded as the insect seen swarming around residents in recent days is not aggressive, unlike its more famous relative.

“The Cicada Killer wasp is a solitary gentle giant and can be seen all over New England, while the giant Asian hornet is native to east Asia," a team of New Haven scientists explained.

"It has been intercepted in Washington State where the Washington State Department of Agriculture is addressing the problem.

“The giant Asian hornet is not here in Connecticut.”

The wasps appear between late July into August, timing “their appearance to the emergence of cicadas,” the scientists said.

“Males, who have no stingers emerge first, establish territory and joust one another.

"When the females emerge, males compete for access to the females.

“Each female then seeks a sandy dry patch of ground, digs a tunnel, flies up to a tree, paralyzes a cicada, takes it down to her tunnel, and literally stuffs it into the tunnel.”

“She then lays an egg on the cicada, which becomes food for her offspring. Sometimes, several wasps may select the same desirable location for their tunnels, but each has her own tunnel,” the scientists said.

“Cicada killer-wasps are not aggressive. They will fly up and move out of the way if a person approaches.

"It is not necessary to kill these wasp, but to understand that the soil they are digging in is dry and sandy.

“They are an indicator that the soil/ ground area where they are working is in poor condition.

"Correct the poor soil conditions and next year the wasps will find a new location to dig.”

Meanwhile, giant Asian hornets that have begun to invade the coronavirus-stricken U.S. may cost the economy millions of dollars a year.

The insects, which can kill with a single sting, may have a devastating impact on the already dwindling honeybee population in the U.S.

Experts estimate the pests may cause America a staggering $29.3 million as they invade.

The invasion is projected as a coronavirus-stricken U.S. is already facing economic setbacks.

Asian hornets are not native to America but originally from Southeast Asia.

They are large insects measuring almost 2in long that prey on small creatures – especially bees.

Just one sting is enough to kill someone allergic to their venom.

Experts in Washington are calling for people to take action now, so the species can be controlled before it becomes out of hand.

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