Cicada killer wasps are part of the Hymenoptera order; the Sphecidae family, the Genus is sphecius, and the species Speciosus. These large digger wasps are dark brown to black, with brilliant yellow markings along the abdomen’s segments. They grow to about two inches long and have amber-colored wings.
The Sphecius speciosus is commonly found east of the Rocky Mountains in the eastern region of the United States. However, a small amount of the genus Specius, known as the Western Cicada Killer, is in the western regions.
Digger wasps are the largest seen in California from the end of June to the beginning of July. They can be viewed flying around looking for flower nectar. Or burrowing holes in the light, sandy ground covering and lawns. One might also recognize them near the National Mall during July in Washington, D.C.
What are Cicadas?
These insects are true bugs, cicadas, or Hemiptera: Cicadidae is popular for the males singing. A male cicada sings by flexing the organs within its abdomen like drums, called tymbals.
The tymbals are pulled rapidly in and out by small muscles. The hollowed abdomen of the cicada makes these sounds more intense sounding.
The female cicadas and certain males can flick their wings and make a different noise. However, this sound is not one for which the cicada is known.
They belong to the insect order called Hemiptera, which is the suborder of Auchenorrhyncha. Most cicadas belong to the Cicadidae and superfamily Cicadoidea or Tettigarctidae (there are only two species).
The Cicadidae also belong to five subfamilies--the Tibicininae, Derotettiginae, Cicadinae, Cicadettinae, and Tettigomyiinae. Some cicada relatives include the jumping plant lice, spittlebugs, and leafhoppers.
What makes this insect species different is the beak (or rostrum) that the nymph and adult have. It uses this beak to suck out a plant's fluid (known as the xylem). It is also the way these insects drink and eat.
Why do We Call Them Cicada Killer Wasps?
The Cicada Killer wasp is sometimes referred to as a sand hornet. However, these wasps are not part of the Vespidae family of insects to which hornets and yellow jackets belong.
They are found in Midwestern to Eastern regions of the United States and as far south as Mexico and Central America. These wasps have been named Cicada Killer Wasps because they pursue cicadas and use them to arrange their nests.
Most active all over Kentucky in the summertime, the mild-acting cicada female killer wasps are focused on the following tasks:
- They arrange the cicadas by paralyzing them to become sustenance to their larvae.
- Digging burrows underground
- Keeping the other wasps focused on these jobs for a long time.
Where does the word Cicada Originate?
The word cicada has a Latin root: "cicada.” In Japan, they are called ‘semi’; the French refer to them as ‘Cigale’; and the Spanish, ‘cigarra.’ It is how it is pronounced depending on your dialect, from “si-Kah-da” to “si-kay-da.”
What Makes Cicada Killers Flourish in certain places?
Cicada killers love places with lots of brilliant sunlight and lightly textured, well-drained soil. Preferably areas that have trees nearby in which there are cicadas living. A cicada killer wasp constructs their tunnels through gardens alongside patios, sidewalks, and lawns.
They will dig for several hundred cubic inches in search of a tasty cicada to eat. Often this search wreaks havoc on a lawn.
They place captured cicadas inside these tunnels for their larvae to feed upon as it matures. Sometimes, larger animals, such as skunks, dig up the tunnels to eat the wasp larvae and insects.
The Life Cycle of the Cicada Killer Wasp
Like other species of insects, the Cicada males are the first to mature into adulthood. In early summer, the matured larvae emerge as adults. Once they have emerged, the mating period begins.
In the early summer, when the female adults come out of the soil that's when mating starts. Once mating has been completed, the female will find a place to start digging holes to form her burrow.
She will dig a hole and form a cell to place one egg along with a cicada insect for it to feed on. Knowing the cicada killer wasp mating cycle is the best way to take control of this pest.
The female uses her front legs to loosen the sand or soil; she then uses her hind and middle legs to scoot her way from the hole.
The female Cicada Killer wasp uses her front legs and head to push the soil out as she gets inside the burrow. The burrow a female digs is around ten inches deep, with a one-inch channel. The end of each burrow has oval chambers big enough to hold a few captured cicadas.
The female searches out the cicada using her sense of vision instead of sound, primarily because her prey doesn’t make noises.
Typically, a cicada is trapped while in mid-flight. The wasp’s sting has a powerful venom. It paralyzes the cicada enough to keep them alive while the wasp’s larvae are feeding.
She will carry the cicada she stung back to the burrow-- sometimes as far as a hundred yards! Climbing a shrub or tree to use the law of physics to glide her and the cicada toward the burrow.
She will walk the distance back to the burrow carrying the cicada if there is nothing for her to climb upon.
She then places an egg into a cell along with one to three cicadas, and the chamber is sealed. The cicada killers maintain their regular pattern of being solitary wasps by furnishing their brood cells in this large-scale manner. One by one, each cell is prepared and sealed.
The female ensures the larva has plenty of sustenance within the cell for survival until they reach pupation. The egg hatches in about two to four days from being laid; the female cicada ensures enough food supply once the egg hatches to sustain the larvae.
The act of progressive provisioning is something these solitary wasps rarely take part in. Progressive provisioning is when many severals are cared for at once, and food is added to the cells daily to ensure the larvae’s growth.
Larvae are produced after the Cicada Killer eggs hatch a couple of days later. After spending the next two weeks feeding, the larvae spin a silk cocoon blended with either soil or sand.
The center of the pupal case is held together by strands of silk, where the cocoons stay throughout winter. Emerging as adult Cicada Killer wasps the following summer and the cycle starts over.
These solitary wasps, known as Cicada Killer Wasps, show up in the late spring to early summertime. Typically east of the Rocky Mountains, however, a related species has been located west of this mountain range.
They are also called digger wasps and appear intimidating due to their size. Unlike other wasps, they do not have an aggressive nature.
However, they are categorized as social wasps, like yellow jackets. Cicada killers are beneficial insects because of their pollinating abilities.
A cicada killer wasp sting is less painful than a yellow jackets sting. What is most often a problem is the panic created when building managers or homeowners come across these pests, often confusing them for yellow jackets.
A common place to treat an active infestation is alongside a roadside or beneath a sidewalk. Oftentimes, the female chooses a lawn as a popular site, any place that has sand or soil and is easy to dig and burrow in.
If you want to take control of a wasp infestation, dust some active insecticide to treat the area. While some forms of pest control treatment come dust or powder, others are in liquid form.
Using liquid as a way to treat cicada killers works well because the liquid will drain inside the holes and kill the larvae inside. You might also opt to dust the area with an active pesticide. Doing this is a sure way to kill an active cicada killer infestation.
The Life Cycle of the Cicada
A cicada insect starts its life in the form of an egg that is rice-shaped. The female cicada uses her ovipositor to deposit her eggs inside the groove she’s formed in a tree limb.
Young cicadas can eat the tree's exposed fluids while receiving shelter inside the groove. Smaller branches of the tree are killed by the grooves created by the cicada female. When this happens, the tree leaves start browning, which is referred to as flagging.
The young cicada will start feeding off the fluids from the tree immediately upon hatching, as a young hatchling looks similar to a small white ant or termite.
It will crawl out of the groove when mature enough, falling toward the ground beneath. Once on the ground, it starts digging in the soil to feed on the tree roots.
A cicada will live underground from two to seventeen years. They normally begin eating the small grass and plant roots, eventually working their way to the host tree’s roots.
Originally, it was believed cicadas spend their time underground hibernating or sleeping; this is incorrect. They are actually rather busy feeding and tunneling.
The cicada will finally come out from underground following a long period of two to seventeen years. They come out as nymphs, climbing onto the closest vertical object to start shedding their exoskeleton.
Once their former skin is gone, the wings fill u with a fluid--called hemolymph, and the skin hardens or sclerotized. It is time to start a short life as an adult now that they have a new body and wings.
Images, as the adult cicadas are referred to, hang out in trees searching for a mate. The males will sing--creating vibrations until a female acknowledges. Once she does, mating starts and the cycle starts over.
Is a Cicada Killer Harmful?
Although the Cicada killers have a large stinger and venom capable of paralyzing their prey, they are not aggressive. These wasps lack the instincts of hornets and honey bees to guard their nests. If you happen upon an area they inhabit, you can easily walk by without drawing attention.
A Cicada killer wasp is capable of guarding itself if attacked. If a female cicada killer feels threatened, she uses her giant stinger for protection. The brilliant colors of these wasps and their constant buzzing are warning signals to predators looking to make them dinner.
Even though the male cicada killer does not have a stinger, they are still territorial. They will challenge anything that comes near their area--this includes people on a riding tractor, mowing or using a weed-eater, or just walking by. It can be extremely intimidating when a large wasp is staring you down.
Are Cicada Killers Harmful to Pets?
If your pet cat or dog happens to capture a cicada killer, they won’t try it again. If it is a female that Fido or Felix catches, they will likely receive a painful sting. Your pet will then associate any buzzing sounds with the colors of the cicada killer wasp.
However, if your pet is stung in its mouth, he or she might experience sensitivity to it. If this should happen, seek veterinarian assistance immediately. Since these wasps stay in the burrows during the night, if you monitor your pet’s activity, you can avert a chance encounter.
Where does the Cicada Killer Wasps Nest?
In the very places where the cicada insect is growing and maturing is where the cicada killer wasp also nests. They are ground digger wasps. Known for digging nests all over in places that have mulch and sand.
Similar to other wasps, the cicada killer wasp can and does sting. They have a large stinger, and sometimes cicada killers will inflict a painful sting on humans and pets.
If you or your pet should suffer a sting by a cicada killer wasp, it can cause an allergic reaction.
Cicada killers normally sting the cicada to first sedate and then paralyze the insect.
During summer, the population of cicadas is the most active; this is when the cicada killer wasps do their hunting.
When they locate a cicada, they first sting and sedate it, enabling them to carry it back to the nest.
The female cicada killer will sting first, allowing her to drag the paralyzed cicada back to the nest.
The paralyzed cicada becomes sustenance to the baby cicada killers back in the nest. Typically each egg burrow needs one to two cicadas as food for every egg.
Usually, there is only a single egg chamber in a cicada killer wasp nest. However, during times of increased population, more chambers are needed.
The cicada killers work hard at digging these extra chambers to accommodate the reproduction increase.
According to legend, cicadas remain active for seven to twelve years. Coming out each year as adults. Of course, this statistic is according to the area they live in.
In order to control a population of cicada killers, you should look for any flying around at night. You can flood the holes with liquid (water or insecticide) during the night when most are inside the nest.
The population of cicada killers varies according to how many cicadas are hatched and released. Hence, an increase in cicadas equals an increased amount of cicada killers.
The amount of insecticide liquid, powder, or dust you need to control an infestation of cicada killer wasps depends on the numbers.
If you have a severe infestation, insecticidal dust may not be enough to exterminate them all. A heavy population of wasps requires the business of a professional like A.N.T. Pest Control.
Sometimes they Nest Around Your Home
Cicada killers dig big, unsightly nests, creating a nuisance in the yard and near your home. Sometimes the nests of this ground digger wasp are mistaken to belong to a much larger animal due to the size.
The cicada killer wasps are also called ground digger wasps; however, whatever name they go by, you want to get rid of them.
There are many ways of treating these ground digger wasps--using an insecticide spray or dust is a common method.
However, sometimes the best method to get rid of cicada wasps is a professional pest control business.
Watching the cicada killers' nest, you can see them as they go in or out as they forage for food. Many people are scared of a cicada killer wasp due to its size.
If you know where the infestation is centered, you can spray insecticide on the dirt around the holes you see. You can also use insecticide dust spread all over the area to get rid of cicada killers.
Should you discover any new holes, you should start a method of pest control right away. Some people wonder if bleach is an effective way of treating the holes.
However, although it works to kill the wasps, it will not kill the larvae. Yet, you can use boric acid which is an excellent method of pest control.
You can use boric acid for treating the holes and nests but also works effectively when you want to kill both larvae and wasps.
If you see cicada killers flying around they are looking for flower nectar and places to dig holes to form nests. One way to treat them is to spray them as they are flying around.
As a matter of fact, these cicada killers are not aggressive. However, you should steer away from their nests and avert children and pets from the area.
The nest of a cicada killer never simply disappears by itself and likely continues to be active for several years.
Thus, it is advisable as soon as you see a developing nest, you begin a method of pest control treatment.
There are many ways of treating cicada killer nests; choosing an appropriate pest control method depends on your flexibility.
You will want to pick a method that works best for you, whether the nests are visible, and how many there are.
What Damage Does a Cicada Killer Create?
To create a safe place to raise their young, the cicada killer female digs holes with wide-ranging tunnels. These tunnels will displace pounds of dirt, capable of dislodging a brick patio sitting on top of the hole. If something like this happens on your property, you need to call a pest control professional.
Another way cicada killers create damage is by uprooting flower beds or vegetable gardens as they dig their burrows. Sometimes, soaking the area with water around the plant's base will cure the issue if only a few plants are involved. When you do this, the wasps leave the site because they dislike wet dirt.
Only use water to drench the site; this allows the loosened soil to settle around the roots. Never mix insecticide with water because it can harm your plant roots and leave a poisonous residue behind.
Golf courses and playgrounds are other sandy places where cicada killers love to dig tunnels and holes. To control these areas, making them less attractive to the wasps, ensure to routinely treat, churn, and water the soil.
How Can You Control Cicada Killer Wasps?
If this flying pest is creating a lot of damage to your garden and lawn, then a pest control treatment may be needed. There are several methods for controlling cicada killer wasps when their burrows and holes become distressful.
One of the ways to take control is by using pyrethroid insecticide (also known as cyhalothrin or cyfluthrin). One treatment of this insecticide at the entrance to the hole or burrow is normally effective.
If the location supplies them with basic survival needs, it is almost impossible to get them to leave. The most aggressive pest control techniques might kill current occupants, yet new wasps will continue to find the lawn attractive.
You need to know the right method of treatment when trying to get rid of cicada killer wasps. In order to get rid of cicada killers, you must treat the areas where they dig holes, tunnel burrows, and form nests.
If you notice any new holes, those also need treatment right away to get rid of any cicada killer larva that is developing.
One way to get rid of cicada killer wasps is to treat the nests using a gallon of water and some insecticide spray.
You can use this mixture of a gallon of water and insecticide to spray the dirt around the holes, burrows, and nests. It should be strong enough to kill the wasp nests, get rid of cicada killer wasps, and any stragglers.
If using chemicals is something you opt for, boric acid, ammonia, and bleach are great options. The only problem is ammonia and bleach can kill the live wasps, however, it won't kill one egg. In this case, the best treatment is boric acid. It will kill both egg and wasp.
Another option of pest control to kill cicada killer wasps is insecticide dust. You just need to spread some dust around the hole and burrow entrance.
To use boric acid to kill the live wasps and larvae, you just need to find where the holes are. Simply pour the boric acid into each hole and watch it kill everything inside.
How to Get Rid of Cicada Killer Nests
The method you choose for getting rid of a cicada killer nest depends on how many you have seen. For instance, viewing a single or couple of holes and no more than two adults is easy to control.
You can use an insecticide spray to get a quick grip on an active nest. Ensure you are close enough to spray the entire nest as you spray the nests. You also want to spray any adult wasps as you see them entering or exiting the nest.
The insecticide sprays you use should have a combination of active ingredients that effectively kill wasps. Be mindful of the cheaper brands lacking the strength to exterminate this type of wasp.
Keep an eye on the nest for several days after spraying to ensure they are all dead. If you do not notice any new activity, you have like fixed the issue. Make sure to seal their entry hole completely to deter wasps from returning.
Next season you will need to re-spray the area with another treatment. Doing so will ensure they will not return to the old nest.
What Attracts Cicada Killers to Your Yard?
The biggest attractant for cicada killer wasps is soil. If the soil in your yard is lightly textured and well-drained, it is an open invitation to these wasps. They also like places with lots of direct sunlight, and plenty of trees for cicadas to live in.
In addition, cicada killers will be attracted to your yard if you have any flower beds, a lawn, or a garden. They also dig alongside the edges of a patio or sidewalk.
As a female cicada wasp digging tunnels, she creates mounds using the sandy soil of the nesting area.
You often notice wasps hanging out in groups around retaining walls, sidewalks, garages, playgrounds, and patios. Any areas where there is a good supply of bare soil.
The months of July through September are the month's Cicada killers are present in the eastern U.S. region.
Locusts and Cicadas are what Cicada-Killers hunt for to maintain their sustenance. The maple, birch, and oak (deciduous) trees suffer damage when wasps lay eggs under the soft bark of new branches.
Can You Prevent Cicada Killer Wasps?
Cicada killers will thrive in landscaped yards or areas with exposed bare soil. Using the highest setting to cut grass, or placing an additional layer of mulch in flower beds will discourage nest-building.
Homeowners living in warm regions of the United States are often faced with cicada killers. Also called “ground digger wasps” a cicada killer might at first appear like an overgrown bee in the garden.
The cicada killer wasp is sometimes confused with the European Hornet and, currently, in the U.S., the Asian Giant Hornet.
These wasps get their moniker from their habit of hunting and killing Locusts and Cicadas. Their powerful stingers are capable of paralyzing cicada prey to feed larvae.
Cicada killer wasps are not aggressive like other hornets or wasps. Only using stinging as a mode of self-defense when feeling threatened.
What deems their pest status is their large size and stinging capability. In addition to their digging ugly holes in your yard and garden.
It can be understandable why coming across a nest of cicada killers may be scary--the main reason is size.
Add in a threatening appearance, and any concerns of the property owner are well-justified.
Below are some characteristics of the cicada killer wasp to aid in identifying if you think you have a problem:
- The Cicada Killer Wasps may be as large as 1.5 to 2 inches long.
- A body that is black and the abdomen encircled with a bright yellow stripe.
- Red, bulging eyes and wings that are large and brownish-orange.
- They have a tendency to reside and nest in the holes they dig all over your yard.
- Feeding more on plant nectar than organic matter and other insects.
- They are solitary ground diggers. Translating to mean they prefer nesting alone in their burrows underground.
Where Do I Look When Inspecting for Cicada Killers?
When searching for a Cicada Killer nest, you should check any grassy places, flower beds, and backyard areas.
If you find some cicada killers in these places, it doesn’t necessarily indicate a nearby nest. They typically like to burrow down into sandy soils to form their nests.
Some Signs to look for…
There are certain signs to be on the lookout for when searching out Cicada Killer Wasps and their nests. Another thing to help you find them is to check out their tendencies for flight.
Most likely, should you locate one, more will be nearby, normally leading you directly to the nest.
You can usually find a cicada killer nest in the form of a dirt mound--with a one-to-one-and-a-half inch wide hole in the center, used as an entrance. After you have located where the nests are, you can begin treatment.
First, you must ensure you wear the proper gear and clothing to keep you safe from potential danger. The best way to get rid of Cicada Killer Wasps is to find out where the nest is and begin treating it.
Below are some ways to decrease the population of cicada killer wasps and intimidate them from nesting on your property:
- Ensure the lawn is maintained properly to ensure a thick and dense turn.
- Ensure your grass is saturated with one to one-and-a-half inches of water.
- Use a minimum of three inches of mulch beneath shrubs and in flowerbeds or the garden.
- Set the blades on your mower to three to four inches because Cicada Killers find high vegetation unattractive. Lowering their chances of digging, tunneling, and nesting in the yard.
- If you suddenly see tunnels forming, spray insecticide right on the tunnels as soon as you view them.
What are the Signs I Have an Infestation of Cicada Killer Wasps?
If you suspect an infestation of cicada killers, below are a few tips to help you recognize the signs:
- When walking over the ground, it feels mushy.
- U-shaped tunnels with loose soil on the ground and around the entrance.
- Two to five-inch high, small, granular mounds of dirt.
- At the button of the mound, there is a finger-sized hole.
Although you cannot hear any buzzing, or see any insects flying around, it doesn’t mean you don’t have an infestation. Cicada Killer Wasps will leave eggs in nests you cannot see.
Therefore, in order to get rid of these ground-digging wasps you need to take an approach that is integrated, involving many steps.
Below is a guide to help you remove cicada killer wasps from your yard.
#1. Get rid of all sources of food.
The primary source of food for Cicada killer wasps is cicadas. They will start looking in other places when the food supply runs low.
Adult cicadas eat the fermented sap of large trees and flower nectar. Thus, by getting rid of flowers and large plants in the yard, you are creating an environment of less attraction to cicada killer wasps.
#2. Keep the soil fertilized.
Cicada Killer Wasps have a preference for soil that is lightly textured and easy to form burrows and dig holes. They will not build their nests in the hydric ground.
Therefore, to control these wasps successfully, you must ensure the soil in your yard has sufficient fertilizer and lime.
Soil that is well-fertilized advances the growth of dense turf. In addition, when watering your lawn or gardens, ensure there is at least a minimum of one-inch of water every week.
#3. Getting rid of cicada killer wasps.
Once the first two steps have been completed, you must find an acceptable way to destroy cicada killers' nests.
You can do this by drowning the burrows with water to wash away the dirt piles around them. Additionally, some homeowners will use vinegar or boric acid to meet this goal.
Although a natural option is often easier, they are not as efficient as the remedies used by professionals.
There are a number of products to aid you in the extermination of cicada killers such as the following:
- Liquid chemicals-- useful in filling their nests.
- Wasp dust- this is used if put at the entrance to each nest.
- Wasp aerosols-- these can be used to spray the entrance of their nests and on the insects directly.
Ways to Keep Cicada Killers Away
Maintaining your lawn, keeping it sufficiently fertilized and wet, with no bare soil showing, will deter cicada killers.
In addition, setting mower blades to the highest setting will ensure long, thick turf, a sure deterrent to this ground digger wasp.
Remember, as you try to keep Cicada killers away, they play an essential role in the ecosystem. Before you grab the insecticide and start spraying a Cicada Killer Wasp nest, remember they feed on plant nectar, which aids pollination.
In addition, female cicada killers help maintain the cicada population.
Why are Cicada Killer Wasps Attracted to My Property?
A cicada killer wasp or digger wasp likes to form soil tunnels to make their nesting sites. Inside the nest are cells the female uses to place an egg into. Although her life is short, she will make and use several of these cells.
The name cicada killer comes from this wasp’s habit of paralyzing cicadas by stinging them. Once the cicada is immobilized, the wasp will carry it to the nest, where it serves as sustenance to their awaiting larvae.
Cicada killer wasps are found all over the United States. As an adult, the cicada killer wasp is about two inches long--one of the biggest of all wasp species.
They are black with light yellow markings. Usually, if you come across one, it will be carrying a paralyzed cicada insect back to the nest.
When it comes to picking a place to nest, the cicada killer wasp is extremely picky. If it happens to be your yard, that means it has what they need. They are usually looking for areas with soil that is light-textured and well-drained.
Preferring places that are close to trees, cicadas also like to live where there is lots of direct sunlight. They dig next to patio edges, sidewalks, lawns, gardens, and flower beds. If your yard has any of these, you are providing a desirable place for them to live.
Cicada wasps are capable of burrowing the soil and shifting it to the surface at a rate of one hundred cubic inches. Doing this creates unattractive mounds that have the potential to kill any grass covering them.
Although cicada killers wreak havoc on your lawn, there are other pests, like skunks that can cause more harm. For example, skunks will damage the lawn by digging up a wasp’s nest in search of the buried cicadas.
As the number of cicada killers increases, the damage to your lawn will worsen. An average of 40% of developing cicada larvae will come out of the nest as adults the next year, starting a new cycle all over. Thus, making the numbers of cicada killer wasps increase quickly to cause even more damage.
With this information in mind, there is not much you can do to avert cicada killer wasps from picking your land as a site for nesting. Yet, with a small infestation, there is little talk about if one should even bother them at all.
However, if you have a large infestation, or you have a nest of cicada killer wasps near your home, call a professional. The pest control company you should always call is A.N.T. Pest Control.
What is Eastern Cicada Killer Wasps?
Another species of Cicada killer wasp that is often confused for a European hornet is the Eastern Cicada killer wasp. Their body consists of an abdomen that is part of the body directly behind the “thread-waist” of the insect. It has three segments that are black with yellow markings.
The six legs of this wasp are a pale red to orange hue, with wings that are a light brown color. The adult Eastern Cicada Killer wasp grows rather large. Around two inches in length. The males of this species are two times smaller than the females.
An Eastern Cicada killer wasp feeds on insects, most commonly the cicada insect. The adults also find the nectar from flowers, fermented tree sap, as well as bigger plants surrounding their nesting site.
Typically, cicada killers construct underground nests and do not live in colonies. They are what is considered to be a solitary wasps. On the surface, a cicada killer wasp nest appears simple; yet, there is a massive building that occurs underground. A burrow is around 12 inches in depth, it has individual cells to hold the next generation of wasp eggs.
If you ever view a cicada killer wasp, you will think it is an awesome, somewhat alarming sight. Just envisioning the entrance to their burrow, in the form of a “U”, with dirt that has been excavated, spells construction in progress.
Some places where you are likely to witness a cicada killer burrowing include:
- The edge of a concrete slab
- Sand traps in a golf course
- Playground equipment and the sandy areas surrounding it
- Sloped ground with very little vegetation
The Eastern Cicada killer starts our life as a larva. It spends the majority of winter in a burrow underground, in which the previous year was dug by the female. The larva then turns into the pupal stage, and in later spring to early summer, it comes out as an adult.
An adult cicada killer comes out of the burrow with one thing on its mind. Finding a mate to reproduce with! The female will eat and then mate. She then begins the task of burrowing a nest to place her eggs and be home to her babies.
Once she has all the cells of her nest completed, it’s time to hunt for insects, in particular, cicadas! These will be the food that her eggs and eventually offspring will survive on until they emerge from the cell.
After the female discovers her prey, she will use her giant stinger to sting it. The act of stinging it will paralyze it enough to allow her to fly (or carry) it to her newly constructed burrow.
She then places one insect prey in each cell she has formed. She then lays one egg inside each cell, and seals the cell ensuring the cicada prey is inside.
It takes approximately two to four days for the eggs to begin hatching. For the next couple of weeks, the larva will feed on the insect. After the larva is done feeding, it spins a cocoon made of silk which it spends the winter inside.
Each year brings only a single cicada killer generation. Following the mating period, male cicada killers die. Females will cease to live following the completion of egg laying and providing their offspring with food.
We wrote this article with the intention to make homeowners aware of the potential for harm by a cicada killer wasp.
Children and pets can happen upon one of the burrows of a cicada killer wasp and suffer a painful sting. Because nobody wants this to happen, this article was written to provide the necessary information to alert you.
In addition, this article is a way of introducing you to what digger wasps are and how they affect the environment. Hopefully, the goal was met by this article and you are now better prepared to handle an infestation of cicada killer wasps.
How to Get Rid of Cicada Killer Wasps Professionally
When you have tried every home method to get rid of cicada killer wasps but it isn't enough, it's time for the professionals! Only a pest control company like A.N.T. Pest Control can do the job!
If you have pests that are larger than bumblebees burrowing in the ground--you like have cicada killer wasps. A.N.T. Pest Control is in the business of pests and knows how to get rid of cicada killers.
Give us a call today! A.N.T. Pest Control is in the business of treating these flying, digging pests! We know how to get rid of cicada killers and what method to use to keep your garden safe.