Your Back Yard Isn’t Full Of Hornets, They’re Cicada Killers
While the idea that murder hornets have invaded Lawton is fun to toy with, odds are the gentle giant is looking for cicadas. Meet the Cicada Killer wasp. She is a big 'ol gal that sounds like a B-27 flying by, but she's shy and docile. If you manage to get stung by one, you deserve it.
I spent most of my childhood summers in the pool. It's just what we had to do, and tell me, what kid doesn't love swimming? My mom also loved the pool, but more importantly, she loved the landscaping around the pool. Every year, she would pour her hard labor into it with tropical plants that really paid dividends to having a punch. Her favorite was the humble Elephant Ear. Those gargantuan green water-repelling leafy plants that grew to the size of, you guessed it, an elephants ear when it had enough water and sunshine.
Fun fact, those flower beds were the perfect living quarters for cicada killers. Lots of soft loamy soil, protection from the weather thanks to those massive elephant ear plants, and because there were thousands of old, mature trees in the neighborhood, dinner was always served up at anytime of day just beyond the borders of that cedar fence.
As kids, these big scary looking beasts terrified us. No matter how many times my parents would tell us "They won't bother you if you don't bother them," we would still start freaking out and splashing at them to go away. It wasn't until I lived in South Texas that I really got to know these scary looking giant murder bugs.
You know how the sound of summer sounds like a million bugs screaming as the evening sets in? That's the sound of the cicada. If you've ever accidentally trapped one in your garage, the sound is unmistakable. They're these big ugly and dumb bugs that live their short lives like any other. Spend a ton of time underground, mature, spread wings, mate, die. And naturally, when there's any special bug of prey, there's a special bug predator. That's why cicada killers are so big. They take down cicadas in mid flight, subdue them, then fly them back home to their little holes to be food for the next generation of creepy crawleys.
So the next time you see and hear what you think is a military grade insect weapon of human demise, know that they don't care about you a bit. They might buzz you, but not on purpose. They're shy, docile, and only focused on one thing... Nailing a cicada so they can lay the eggs of the next generation.
All the same, if you spot a giant black/bluish wasp with orange wings, that's a tarantula hawk. Don't kill it, but definitely don't be messing with it. While they're also considered pretty docile, it's sting is second only to the bullet ant in terms of pain. They also make a home in SWOK.