Cicada killer wasps are a very large wasp that primarily hunts cicadas, which they will feed their young. Luckily, this giant of a wasp isn’t a social species and doesn’t gather in colonies. A male and female will come together to mate. The female becomes very active during the summer, preparing her nest for her eggs and securing them for the upcoming winter. Seeing cicada killer wasps can be a little frightening and are not a bug you want flying around your yard. A-Tex Pest Management will share how to identify and control cicada killer wasps.
Cicada Killer Wasp Identification
The cicada killer wasp female can grow very large, reaching up to two inches long. Males are usually half the size of the females. The females are easily identified not just by their larger size, but by their long stinger. Males do not have stingers, only the females. This is because the females are responsible for hunting the cicadas. After mating, the female will go and look for a nesting site. They nest underground and typically, in soft soil such as garden beds. The females will dig down into the ground creating multiple chambers for each egg and will supply the chamber with a dead cicada for they young to feed on once they hatch. The larva will feed until it goes into its cocoon. They will emerge as an adult cicada killer wasp come spring. Cicada killer wasps come in a few various colors. Most often, they are black with yellow stripes. Some may have an orange and yellow color with either reddish or black eyes.
Cicada Killer Wasp Sting
Even though cicada killer wasps may look intimidating, especially the female due to their large stinger and size, they are non-aggressive. Cicada killer wasps don’t bother humans and only look for those annoying cicadas that terrorize your yard with their loud clicking noises. Adult wasps actually feed on nectar and kill the cicada to feed their young. A few reported stings have occurred, and in most cases, the encounters were accidental. The females usually sting out of defense.
How to Prevent Cicada Killers from Building Nests
Controlling and preventing cicada killer wasps can be rather difficult since they are great at hiding their nest and keeping their activity discreet until it is too late. The wasp’s nest can be treated to prevent the larva from hatching and invading the yard come spring. You can discourage female wasps from nesting by filling in or covering their holes as they begin to develop them. You can also frequently wet down the site of their nest as they don’t like super wet soil. Cicada killer wasp nests are easily found. You can often see their golf ball sized holes and dirt mounds as they dig. For chemical control and removal, it is recommended to seek professional pest control. Females may become aggressive when defending their nests. In the event the female defends her nest, a professional service will be better equipped to remove the female and treat the nest.