Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cicada Killer Wasp

Ok..Just the name gives me the creeps. Does anyone else have a problem with these guys?

My friends and I were out at the pool today and these little critters were out in full force. We were not sure what they were so they asked if I could find out about them. Yuck!!!! Double Yuck!!! After reading about them I want to get rid of them as soon as possible!

Here is some information that I found out.

Description: The female cicada killer wasp is quite large, with body about 1-1/8 to 1-5/8 inches long. Males are slightly smaller. The abdomen is black with light yellow markings. The head and wings are rusty red.

Cicada killer wasps are solitary wasps and have a life cycle very different from the social wasps such as hornets and paper wasps. The stings are designed to paralyze cicadas rather than for nest defense, so despite their large size, the sting is not as painful. The female wasps are not defensive, they will only sting if caught by bare hand or caught in one's clothing. Males will chase after other wasps or even buzz around humans, if one comes into their territory, but they have no stings. Adult wasps will dig nesting holes during July and August. Nesting holes are usually in full sun, with sparse vegetation, in well-drained soils that are sandy slightly clayey. Each female egg is provided with two cicadas and male egg is provided with one cicada. Eggs hatch into larvae in two days and larvae will consume the live but paralyzed cicadas in 4-14 days and then spin a cocoon. Female wasps will locate singing cicadas and sting them to cause paralysis, then either glide from a tree to their burrow or drag them to the burrow on the grass.
Control and prevention If you do not enjoy the singing of cicadas during summer, then the cicada killer wasps are your friend. One female wasp will hunt 10-30 cicadas per summer. However when they become too abundant, especially near door steps, golf courses, or flower beds, people can get annoyed or scared. The most effective control is to use a tennis rackets to swat them like large flies, or one can capture them using insect nets. Because the wasp only nests in areas with sparse vegetation, improving your lawn with adequate watering and fertilizer will remove infestation after 1-2 years. If one prefers to use pesticide, locate the burrows during day time and apply pesticide after it is dark so the wasps are inside their burrows. If the density of burrows are high, consider spraying of the same type of insecticides. One may need to treat continuously for 2-3 weeks if there is an influx of new wasps from other places. If you are allergic to insect stings, have someone help you or call a pest control firm listed in your yellow pages
Well, I hope you find this information useful or at least entertaining. It's really more information than I had bargained for but it was kind of interesting.


  1. Look at you providing us with a science lesson. ;)

    I think I would have the Orkin Man come and specifically spray for those little pests!

  2. Well atleast the boy wasps can't sting & the girl wasps sting won't hurt?! I'm sending the kiddos to YOU for science class ; ) Very informative research...WHO KNEW??!!
    Tell T to flood the backyard & they'll leave ; )
    Looking forward to swimming next week w/o your lil' pests!!!

  3. I have had these cicada killer wasps tear up the ground cover in the courtyard in front of my house in Oklahoma for the last 4 summers (late July through August). Where I originally had full, thick ground cover 4 years ago, I now have sparse ground cover as a result of these pests. My neighbor and I have bought a wasp spray that is foam which we unload on the mounds at dusk. I am not sure why they like our area so much. They are hard to get rid of.


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