I received an email from my good friend, Blanche, regarding an insect in her yard that was making large holes which she could not identify.
After discussing it back and forth and sending her various insect photos, we determined she had in her flower beds an Eastern cicada killer, which is a very large solitary wasp. The females are larger and sting their prey, a cicada, to paralyze it and then use it to provision their nest. They emerge in June and can be seen until late September.
I visited her yard to take photos and found her flower bed all dug up with many large holes around her plantings and a male flying about keeping us on guard as he flew from hole to hole. A female arrived carrying a paralyzed cicada larger than herself and she promptly carried it down into one of the holes.
See the following article for further fascinating information:
I searched in my own yard for similar nests with no luck but did find
this cicada, safe for the moment, on my porch.