New Jersey has yet another killer bug on the loose right now

Its name is sphecius speciosus and it comes out a few months before Halloween. Perhaps that is why they earned the nickname “zombie wasp”.

People all over New Jersey have noticed these things and are wondering what they are and how dangerous they are.

Luckily, while they may look scary, they are harmless to humans and pets.

They are more commonly known as “cicada killers” or “cicada hawks” and they are not interested in us. They feed on cicadas.

You may see small piles of dirt or sand in sidewalk cracks or on your patio. They capture cicadas and place them in these holes in the piles of sand or earth and feed on them.

It looks awful and they look menacing and petrifying, but the only thing they really petrify is the cicada.

via Wiki4All on YouTube

via Wiki4All on YouTube

They are officially known as the cicada killer of the East and have a reputation as “gentle giants of the wasp world”.

They’re here in New Jersey right now, but don’t confuse them with their cousins, the “murder hornets,” which hit the headlines around the time COVID arrived in 2020.

Much like the pandemic, in 2022 the thought and sight of this phenomenon is far worse than the reality.

Cicada killer wasps are actually good for the planet because they hunt cicadas, which damage trees. It’s much more of a hazard to humans than a creepy but harmless insect that digs holes in your dirt.

Unlike the spotted lanternfly, you are not encouraged to kill them. Spotted lanternflies kill trees and vegetation. These guys are actually protecting against it.

via Wiki4All on YouTube

via Wiki4All on YouTube

The views expressed in the above post are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy only.

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These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn’t have to be just the beach. Our state has incredible trails, waterfalls and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to New Jersey’s hidden gems, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it’s a great workout.

Before you hit the trails and explore some of our listeners’ suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you descend and encounter an uphill hiker, pull to the side and give the uphill hiker some space. An uphill hiker has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless marked as an official trail, avoid them. Going off the trail, you risk damaging the ecosystems around the trail, the plants and wildlife that live there.

You also don’t want to disturb any wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Cyclists must yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also give in to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you’ll encounter on New Jersey trails.

If you plan to take your dog on your hike, they must be on a leash and be sure to clean up all pet waste.

Finally, pay attention to the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it’s probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions on the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions:

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The least populated municipalities in New Jersey, according to the 2020 census. This list excludes Pine Valley, which would have been the third smallest with 21 residents, but voted to merge with Pine Hill in early 2022.