Karl Story: Cicada Killer Hunter

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Karl Story: Cicada Killer Hunter

Postby Laura » Tue Aug 04, 2009 1:11 pm

I WORK WITH A CRAZY MAN.

What is Karl demonstrating to three of our interns (Joy, Matt, Remington)?
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Why, Karl's caught not one, but TWO Cicada Killer Wasps! (Note: Right after I took this, Karl dropped the wasp and I ran like a freak, screaming, "JESUS GOD!"
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Lucky for me, he got a better hold of it. He had to pin the wasps down to get them out of the net; you can see the pins in other photos.
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Those are my pliers, being used for Mad Scientist Karl's nefarious wasp needs. He puts the wasps into a blank CD holder so he can freeze 'em to death.
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Kind of a crap photo, and I had to touch up a bit to see the wasps, but you get the idea.
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The larger wasp finally settled down enough to get a photo. (Second wasp is in the background.) Check out the "eyes" on its abdomen...and the pin through its thorax. Now that is badass. I know that wasp was planning on clubbing us all to death with that pin.
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Side view to see the top of the abdomen, with more eyes.
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Yesterday's catches. We have a LOT of these mofos around the studio. Once they're frozen dead, then Karl pins them up like this and lets 'em harden.
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-- Laura
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Re: Karl Story: Cicada Killer Hunter

Postby Zombie Dave McCaig » Tue Aug 04, 2009 5:18 pm

3 interns!! You lucky bastards.

Cool wasps, too.
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Re: Karl Story: Cicada Killer Hunter

Postby Laura » Tue Aug 04, 2009 6:04 pm

We actually have six. We had a seventh but he finished early.

FLATTERS GALORE!...but our flatting machine took a dive on Thursday. I may have to set up the Mac Mini as a flatting system.

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Re: Karl Story: Cicada Killer Hunter

Postby Brian Frey ~ halfmoth » Tue Aug 04, 2009 10:03 pm

Jeebus... :zombie: Creeptastic! Has anyone there been stung before? I'm assuming it's a much worse kind of sting...
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Re: Karl Story: Cicada Killer Hunter

Postby Karl_Story » Thu Aug 06, 2009 7:28 am

Holy crap I am balding! Thanks Laura!!!1!!

No stings...yet. Hope we don't find out how bad they are.
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Re: Karl Story: Cicada Killer Hunter

Postby Laura » Thu Aug 06, 2009 8:35 am

Sowwy, Karl. Don't worry, no one can see the top of your head when you're standing.

Today's catch. I named him Bruno. He hung out on my desk for a while until his angry buzzing got tiresome. Now he's chillin' out in the freezer.

He's a little over 1.25" long:
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Y halo thar! (you can see the tiny airhole below his head)
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-- Laura
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Re: Karl Story: Cicada Killer Hunter

Postby Fatboy73 » Thu Aug 06, 2009 8:58 am

HOLY CRAP LAURA!! So that's what I saw :shock: I was taking a trip to downstate Michigan and stopped at a gas station to fill up,got out to pump the gas and saw the largest friggen wasp I've ever seen in my life lying on the ground and flailing about.I got the willies just looking at it and I swear it seemed like it was twice the size of the ones you caught.I got my gas paid for it and drove away as fast as I could.
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Re: Karl Story: Cicada Killer Hunter

Postby Laura » Thu Aug 06, 2009 9:24 am

Yeah, these guys are all over the place. Yesterday's wasp (the one with the pin through the thorax) was bigger than today's wasp. Probably was a good 1.5" in total length. It's hard to tell because the end of the abdomen pulses when they're alive, and it contracts a bit when they get frozen. There's probably a 1/16" difference between the extended abdomen and the contracted abdomen.

SO GROSS.

Karl caught at least six this week, and there are still LOTS of them out there in the garden area near the studio's front door. At least they're not aggressive -- except when Karl tries to catch one and misses. :shock:

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Re: Karl Story: Cicada Killer Hunter

Postby robbdaman » Thu Aug 06, 2009 10:25 am

Remind me never to visit Atlanta. Those things are scary looking mo-fos. Thankfully I never see anything like that out here in Cali, a few spiders and little moths but no giant killer wasps. :shock:
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Re: Karl Story: Cicada Killer Hunter

Postby Laura » Thu Aug 06, 2009 10:57 am

You guys have your fair share of weird bugs. The grossest bug I've ever seen* is the mole cricket, and I only saw that in California. I know I have no reason to be afraid of the mole cricket, but it was just so...ICKY.

Been reading up on these guys. They look a lot more dangerous than they are. The males are aggressive but they don't have stingers. The females have stingers, but they're too busy trying to lug giant cicadas back to their burrows to fuss around with humans. Still, I'm not gonna go out of my way to piss 'em off.

-- Laura

* with the possible exception of any bug over an inch and a half long
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Re: Karl Story: Cicada Killer Hunter

Postby MBirkhofer » Thu Aug 06, 2009 11:29 am

haha.
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Re: Karl Story: Cicada Killer Hunter

Postby robbdaman » Thu Aug 06, 2009 11:46 am

You want to talk icky, in Arizona there are lots of cockroaches and the palmetto bugs are the worst. 2-3 inch cockroaches that fly, you'd swear it was a bird. Here on the coast we just don't see a whole lot of that.
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Re: Karl Story: Cicada Killer Hunter

Postby Trish Mulvihill » Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:09 pm

I know I'm late to this but I just gotta say JESUSMARYANDJOSEPH!! Karl is badass.

Like the puppy dog head-tilt in that close-up shot of the wasp :)
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Re: Karl Story: Cicada Killer Hunter

Postby julia_sevin » Wed Aug 19, 2009 8:28 am

Ahhh, the cicada killer. Living in Texas I once had one of those bad boys fly unexpectedly at my and I could have sworn at the time that it was a condor.

Terrified, I did some research and found out that not only are they generally harmless, they actually are somewhat amused by human contact--you can "dance" with them by weaving back and forth because occasionally they'll imitate you. (I'm not sure where I read that or whether it was based on accounts by biologists or just crazy people, but I like it.)
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Re: Karl Story: Cicada Killer Hunter

Postby Karl_Story » Thu Aug 20, 2009 8:14 am

I have observed this "dancing" aspect that they display, but my primal lizard brain just keeps screaming BIG FREAKIN WASP, BIG FREAKIN WASP!!!.

Whatever their sting level, I have seen up close the size of the actual stingers on the ones I have pinned to my insect board of death.

For your amusement, the refined Schmidt Sting Pain Index:

1.0 Sweat bee: Light, ephemeral, almost fruity. A tiny spark has singed a single hair on your arm.
1.2 Fire ant: Sharp, sudden, mildly alarming. Like walking across a shag carpet & reaching for the light switch.
1.8 Bullhorn acacia ant: A rare, piercing, elevated sort of pain. Someone has fired a staple into your cheek.
2.0 Bald-faced hornet: Rich, hearty, slightly crunchy. Similar to getting your hand mashed in a revolving door.
2.0 Yellowjacket: Hot and smoky, almost irreverent. Imagine W. C. Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue.
2.x Honey bee and European hornet: Like a matchhead that flips off and burns on your skin.
3.0 Red harvester ant: Bold and unrelenting. Somebody is using a drill to excavate your ingrown toenail.
3.0 Paper wasp: Caustic & burning. Distinctly bitter aftertaste. Like spilling a beaker of hydrochloric acid on a paper cut.
4.0 Tarantula hawk: Blinding, fierce, shockingly electric. A running hair drier has been dropped into your bubble bath.
4.0+ Bullet ant: Pure, intense, brilliant pain. Like fire-walking over flaming charcoal with a 3-inch rusty nail in your heel.
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