866-844-7723 Call us for a free quote Contact us

Cicada killer wasps: what to know

When you see a wasp bigger than one inch in size, you may become pretty frightened, and we don’t blame you: A flying creature that large can be very alarming! If this wasp is black and has yellowish marks, it could be an eastern cicada killer wasp (Sphecius speciosus). You may mistake this insect for a large yellow jacket.

This might be the first time you’ve heard of a cicada killer wasp. Where does that scary-sounding name come from? Well, it is quite fitting, given that these wasps give their larvae cicadas on which to feed.

Are you interested in learning about cicada killer wasps, such as their stings and how to get rid of them? If cicada killers are causing you issues, Ehrlich can help you eliminate them. Simply call us at 888-984-0186 or contact us online to schedule a time for us to visit your home or business and check out the problem.

Cicada killer wasp facts

cicada killer wasp

Cicada killer wasps come out during the summer, so this is a good time to get to know them a little better. Let’s get familiar with some basic facts about eastern cicada killer wasps.

  • These are not tiny wasps - they can be up to 1 ⅝ inch in length.

  • Males are usually smaller compared to females.

  • Their wings are tinted with orange.

  • Eastern cicada killer wasps are located to the east of the Rocky Mountains.

  • Cicada killer wasp sting venom paralyzes cicadas.

  • As morbid as it sounds, cicada killer wasp larvae actually feed on cicadas that are paralyzed.

  • Due to their feeding on cicadas, cicada killer wasps are helpful insects, as cicadas can harm trees. But, issues could occur if cicada killers are located in an area where many people go.

  • In the eastern United States, you may see cicada killers from July through September.

  • They are not the same thing as the Northern giant hornet, or murder hornet!

Cicada killer wasp holes

Cicada killer wasp females create burrows. A common place for a burrow is bare soil. Females like making holes where full sunlight is present. The holes can be found in spots such as beneath shrubs or close to sidewalks. Female cicada killers excavate burrows once they have mated. A mound of soil can form in the shape of a U.

Using their stings to paralyze cicadas, female cicada killer wasps take the cicadas to their burrows for their offspring. Once the larvae have hatched (which takes two to three days), they feed on the cicadas. The cicadas are alive during this time – not exactly the most appealing picture to think about!

Later, the larvae create cocoons, where they spend the winter becoming pupae in the spring and adults around summertime. As adult cicada killers, they search for mates.

When cicada killer wasps create tunnels, soil that has been moved can cover grass. These flying insects can also excavate soil in gardens. Moreover, cicada killer wasp buzzing can be noisy. They will buzz at you if you walk into their area. A number of cicada killers can nest in close proximity to each other.

Cicada killer wasp sting

cicada killer wasp

If you have ever seen a cicada killer wasp, your number one fear may be their sting – but do not become too afraid. Only female cicada killers sting. This can hurt, but they sting only when they are bothered. If you come into an area with cicada killers, a male one may fly up to you, but you will not face a sting from them.

So, as long as you don’t incite cicada killers, you shouldn’t need to worry much. Do be careful when walking around in bare feet, as you could step on one and get stung.

At the same time, insect stings can bring on severe reactions in some people. If you do happen to be stung and experience any serious symptoms, contact a medical professional right away.

How to get rid of cicada killer wasps

You can try to keep cicada killer wasps away by getting rid of the place where they are found; for example, by applying mulch to bare ground. Still, if cicada killers are disturbing your property, you should get in touch with a wasp control professional to resolve the issue. When it comes to stinging insects such as wasps or bees, you need to be very careful and rely on the experts who know how to handle them safely.

One of Ehrlich’s trusty specialists can come out to your home or business and get rid of your cicada killer problem. Reach out to us today!

Get a free quote for your home

Our new pricing tool can help you get a better estimated cost using a few factors like:

  • Location
  • Property size
  • Pest type
Get your quote

Related posts