Cicada Killers

What do cicada killers look like?

cicada killer with a dead cicada

Cicada killers are a very hearty wasps that tend to grow very large in size.  Adults may grow up to 2 inches in length, and the females quite a bit larger than the males.  Cicada killers are black with some yellow markings or stripes. Their wings are a shaded brown, and their legs can vary from pale red to a more vibrant orange.  Their eyes can be black or red and are set far apart on their head.

Cicada killer behaviors

The cicada killer's name makes them sound much more aggressive and dangerous than they actually are.  This species got their name "cicada killer" because cicada bugs are what they prey on to feed their larvae.  Cicada killers are a very interesting wasp species with a fairly short life-cycle, especially for the males- they die after mating.  The females live just long enough to lay their eggs and gather food for the larvae.

Cicada killers are solitary wasps that build underground nests about a foot deep in loose soil.  Their nests contain oval shaped cells, where they lay their eggs.  The females will hunt cicadas or, if cicadas are not available, other species of insects. They will then sting and paralyze them and place them in the cell with the eggs.  Once the larvae hatch from the egg they will feed on the provided cicada, create a cocoon, hibernate for the winter, and then emerge from the ground as adults ready to mate and continue the life-cycle.

Common nesting areas for cicada killers include gardens, sandy areas found at playground or golf courses, lawns, and next to slabs of concrete.

Are cicada killers dangerous?

Unlike other wasp species, cicada killers are not very aggressive and don’t really pose a huge threat to people.  Between the male and female the males are more aggressive, but do not have a stinger.  The females do have a stinger but are very docile and rarely sting.  A sting usually only occurs if they are accidentally stepped on or are being directly threatened.

A sting from a cicada killer can be quite painful and their venom is powerful enough to cause an allergic reaction in some people.  So, while a sting from a cicada killer may be rare, care should still be taken around these wasps, and they should not intentionally be handled.

Can Suburban help with a cicada killer problem?

If cicada killers have decided to take up residence on your property, the pest control experts at Suburban Exterminating can help you eliminate them.  Getting rid of cicadas can be a bit tricky since the treatment has to be timed just right in order to prevent a re-infestation.

The technicians at Suburban have the experience and knowledge to successfully treat and control these pests.  To learn more about our cicada killer control services, please contact Suburban Exterminating today.

Cicada killer prevention tips

Stopping stinging insects like cicada killers from choosing your property to nest on is a very difficult, if not an impossible, task.  If cicada killers have decided to nest on your property the best thing you can do is to contact a professional.  Suburban Exterminating never suggests DIY control for stinging insects; instead call us at the first sign of a problem.



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