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STUNG by a CICADA KILLER!

Jun 02, 2021
- I know you're shaking your head right now saying, "Coyote, wait a minute. Are you coming out of Sting's retreat?" (intense music) Ugh! I'm Coyote Peterson, and I'm about to get

stung

by the

killer

cicada

. My God, that stinger is long. Here we go. (reeling film) (cat meows) (upbeat music) (lions roars) (ground roars) (dramatic music) During the winter of 2020, the national media erupted with a deafening buzz that venomously instilled unwarranted fear in homes across the United States. That buzz came from none other than the giant hornet. Hailed as one of the most painful toxic stings in the world, these nightmarish insects have a nasty reputation and have been dubbed murder hornets by the press.
stung by a cicada killer
For anyone late to the party, yes, I've already been bitten. And yes, it hurts a lot. Absolute searing pain! As for the invasion, no, we are not going to be invaded,

stung

and killed by giant hornets. But some may argue that the invasion has already happened. That's where I come in. It's time to set the record straight, and more importantly, it's time to take a misidentified scapegoat off the suspect list. (suspenseful music) Okay, let's get down to business. You showed up to see a grown male experience some pain, but first, you have to learn something about this amazing insect.
stung by a cicada killer

More Interesting Facts About,

stung by a cicada killer...

Like my mom always said, "You can't have your dessert until you finish your vegetables." Well, if that isn't a scary bug, I don't know what is. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce the

cicada

killer

, one of the largest wasp species in the United States. This is second only to the tarantula hawk. Now, this wasp isn't technically a spider wasp, like the tarantula hawk. This is, in fact, a sand wasp. Now similar to the tarantula hawk, they have a very unique life cycle. This one you're looking at here is a female. It is the females that grow larger than the males, and the females are armed with a poisonous stinger.
stung by a cicada killer
And what the females will do is look for cicadas just below the treetops. They will lock onto their target, move around, and use that elongated abdomen to pounce under their prey, then sting. They paralyze the cicada similar to how a tarantula hawk paralyzes a spider. Eventually, the male cicada killer fertilizes the egg that she lays on top of the paralyzed cicada. The female will physically carry that cicada in her large jaws and grappling hook-like legs back to her underground burrow. These burrows can be up to 20 inches long and have multiple tunnels. At the end of each of these tunnels, the female will place the paralyzed cicada.
stung by a cicada killer
Once the egg hatches, it pupates and begins to feast on that paralyzed insect until it grows large enough to build a cocoon. And then once she comes out of that cocoon the next season, another cicada killer comes out from under the ground. If that's not a true war story, I don't know what is. This is a very large wasp and the easiest way to identify it is those large amber wings. When this creature is at rest, like now, the wings are very triangular in shape, very different from hornets or spider wasps. You'll see there, when it curls its wings back, it looks a little more concave, similar to a giant hornet, which makes it very easy to misidentify this species as that alien invader.
And when you look at the front of the insect, it has huge eyes. These wasps have amazing eyesight. They are mainly diurnal and you will see them very active on overcast and overcast days. Again, they are using their senses to find the cicadas in the tree, target their prey, and then they will make a move. Now that the thorax is quite large, very robust, but it is the abdomen that is most unique. That black and yellow coloration tells you that this creature is poisonous. Aposematic means "Leave me alone. I'm not something you want to get stung for." Now when it comes to the behavior of this wasp, to be honest, they are quite docile and very rarely interact with humans.
In fact, the only time you have a chance of being bitten by this insect is if it climbs to the top of its burrow and crawls out from under you and tries to escape. Your bare foot might itch if you were blocking their escape route. Other than that, this is not a bug that will ever go out of its way to try and interact with humans. Now, during the summer, you will often see groups of males, fighting in the air. But other than that, these are considered solitary sand wasps. And no matter how you look at it guys, to be honest this is a very intimidating insect, which makes it abundantly clear why people are afraid of this wasp.
Wow, seeing it buzzing around inside that pod brings back a number of memories: the warrior wasp, the tarantula hawk, the executioner wasp, and definitely the Japanese giant hornets. But there's a very good reason this wasp is going to sting me today. No, technically I'm not coming back from Sting's retreat. This is going to be unique because right now, this insect has a very negative reputation from people who mistakenly identify it with the giant hornet. They are panicking and aiming to kill this species, but it is not something we should be afraid of. So by bringing this up to the cameras and taking a stinger, I can show you that that's not really that potent.
Remember, it only ranks as a 2 on the insect bite pain index. Now, that stinger is, of course, a modified ovipositor, used to deposit eggs. And although it is mixed with venom, the venom of this species is not necessarily that potent. However, I don't know how my body is going to react to the sting, so we certainly have an epinephrine pen on set in case my body has an allergic reaction. But if they're ready, I think it's time to transfer the cicada killer from the pod to the net. Let's put the tweezers on and get them to sting me.
This is the trickiest part, so I have to focus and make sure I get a clean, secure hold, just… (loud music) Ugh! Just like that, we almost lost it. Man, that's a very, very, very powerful, very powerful wasp. oh my friend (soft music) Okay, let me try again. I mean, you have to think about it. This thing is capable of carrying a cicada that can weigh more than it does. It's a very, very powerful wasp. (Coyote growling) I also have to be very delicate and very tender. I don't want to damage the wings of the insect in any way.
It has all those little hairs that make it very slippery. That is where I am struggling. I need to get it right. Just like that. (suspenseful music) Good girl. I have a good grip, I have to go with him now. Are they in position? Phew! Okay, hands shaking. I'm Coyote Peterson, and I'm about to get stung by the killer cicada. My God, that stinger is long. Here we go. One, two, ugh, three. (intense music) Ah! Ah, he ran away. Oh oh! Phew! I lost it. It's the first time I've lost one. I must be rusty. (coyote groaning) Kill me more than once too.
Wow! Could you see that? Could you see the bite? - I think so. - Come and take, right there. Phew! Long stinger. Oh yeah, it's throbbing. Phew! Wow! Ugh, okay. It's really not that bad. It really isn't that bad at all. He got me there and there. (Coyote panting) Oh yeah, okay. Alright here we go. Second wave of pain, second wave of pain. Swim near a velvet ant or a tarantula hawk. Nothing like bullet ants or some of those bigger wasps. Wow, for such a long stinger. Very intimidating, not really that painful. It has good ridges, oh yeah, the skin is definitely getting tougher. (light music) Ordinary paper wasp at the most, not even on par with a bee.
Not even on par with a bee, I can't believe it. My first capsule failure. Well, it's certainly back in the wild at this point. Hands down the strongest insect I have ever worked with in one of these bite scenarios. Now here is my theory. For a spider wasp like the tarantula hawk, take on something like a tarantula. It is an aggressive predator on its own with large fangs, so your sting and venom have to be incredibly potent. I don't feel any sensation of paralysis in my arm. When it comes to a wasp like cicada killer, when you're going to get this cicada with no stinging or biting parts, I can see why your sting doesn't need to be as powerful.
Now it's been a couple of minutes, and if you come over here and get close to my arm, Mario, you can see that something weird is going on with my forearm. Look at that welt. I thought I only got stung twice, but I see a swelling here and now it's radiating down my forearm. Now I do feel a sting after the fact, but nothing more than a common wasp sting. There's an initial jolt, sort of like an electric shock, and I was anticipating paralysis from the tarantula hawk, but that pain went away (squeals), and then it just died away.
Wow! How does that lead me to conclude that while this may be a very intimidating wasp, to be mistaken for the giant hornet, it is definitely not something to be afraid of? I would say the bite is no more than a 2 on the insect bite pain index. And even a 10-year-old Coyote could probably have taken a bite from this creature and gone straight to the swamps to catch turtles. Now when it comes to seeing one of these wasps this summer, if you happen to come across one in your backyard, remember, this is not a creature that will chase you.
They want nothing to do with humans. And unless you're a cicada, you have absolutely nothing to fear. I'm Coyote Peterson, be brave, stay wild. See you on the next adventure. Phew! That was a good one. (light music) The science of bites will always have a special place in my heart. And the painfully entertaining experiences we've captured on camera have brought to light a collection of creepy creatures that have never been so celebrated before. Giant hornets are not going to invade America. And hopefully this close-up look at the cicada killer, despite its menacing design and impressive size, has helped alleviate some of his worries.
In the worst case, if you do get stung, it's not as bad as its appearance would lead you to believe. Remember, they kill cicadas, not humans. And if there's one thing I hope you walk away with, it's that these wasps are remarkably tame unless they're played with. Leave them alone and let them live. That's all. One last bite. I will be returning in retirement where I plan to enjoy a long and relaxing career making more animal adventure content. Although there may be some pretty extreme things to come. I didn't say anything about withdrawing from the bites. (dramatic music) (coyote yelling) Ah!
Oh! (Coyote panting) Hey Coyote Pack, if you love our bite and sting content and want to learn more, be sure to check out our best-selling book, "The King of Stings" and be one of the first to read my memoir more recent. , "The Beast of Bites". To grab your copies, click the link in the video description below. And don't forget, join the memberships so you can challenge alongside me and the crew on our next wild adventure. (wolf howling) (birds singing)

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