whatever’s bugging you.
These gentle giants of the wasp world are killers in name only.
(Unless you’re a cicada.)
The cicada killer (Sphecius speciosus) is a large, ominous looking wasp that looks much scarier than it actually is. Cicada killers look like giant hornets or yellow jackets on steroids. Males may aggressively patrol the nest, even “dive bombing” or hovering in front of faces, but have no stinger. Female cicada killers have stingers, but are unlikely to sting unless directly handled.
They get their name because female cicada killers catch cicadas and feed them to their larvae.
The cicada killer is a solitary wasp, living by itself in a nest located in the ground. When many cicada killer wasps burrow near one another in such numbers that they disturb lawns, they become a nuisance pest.
Adam’s Gets Rid of Cicada Killers Fast!
Fast, Local Response
Cicada Killers Treatment Options
One-time Perimeter Stinging Insects
Adam’s licensed pest management professionals have the training and equipment to safely kill nuisance wasp, hornet, and yellow jacket nests up to 25’ in height in or around structures that pose a threat to people. We apply a proven insecticide directly into the nests and also into holes, cracks, and gaps where an active nest may be hiding. Adam’s treats up to 5 nests for the same low price. Adam’s guarantees that no new activity will be present in any treated nest for 3 months.
Premier Perimeter Stinging Insects
Need to prevent more pests than just stinging insects? Adam’s Premier Perimeter Program includes a minimum of 3 preventive barrier treatments around the exterior perimeter of your home for year-round prevention of common household bugs, including insects, spiders, boxelder bugs, and wasp nests. Your Pest Management Professional inspects for pests, and then applies a season-specific, non-repellent, residual material to control common household pests before they can get inside. The service comes with a 12-month guarantee for all existing and new wasp nests.
Premier Home Pest Prevention
Adam’s best value for prevention and control of common household pests, including stinging insects like wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets! Adam’s Premier Home Pest Prevention service provides year-round prevention of pests with a minimum of four visits throughout the year. Service visits focus on the exterior of your home, where most pest problems originate. And should a pest problem ever occur between scheduled visits, the plan includes additional treatments at no additional charge. This program includes common household pests like spiders, centipedes, and roaches and seasonal pests like multicolored Asian lady beetles, ants, and mice, as well as wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets.
More About Cicada Killers
HOW DO I RECOGNIZE A CICADA KILLER INFESTATION?
- Cicada killer wasps nest in the ground, generally in areas that are well drained, receive full sunlight, and are near trees in which cicadas live.
- They dig tunnels in the ground, often creating large mounds of dirt and occasionally causing damage to flower beds and lawns.
- Although solitary wasps, the cicada killers may nest near one another and there can be many cicada killer burrows in a relatively small area.
WHAT DO CICADA KILLERS LOOK LIKE?
- Cicada killers are large, about 1½” in length.
- They are black and reddish-brown with yellow bands across the thorax and abdomen.
- The Cicada killers’ wings are reddish-orange in color.
- They have reddish-brown legs.
- Cicada killer adults are active in July and August.
ARE CICADA KILLERS DANGEROUS?
- Although cicada killers are huge and look intimidating, there is very little risk for stings. Therefore, they are not considered dangerous unless you have allergic reactions to bee stings.
- Females are able to sting but are so non-aggressive that they typically stay away from people.
WILL CICADA KILLERS DAMAGE MY LAWN?
- A solitary cicada killer tunneling in your lawn won’t harm the turf. It will go away at the end of the summer.
- However, several cicada killer wasps may nest in the same area, while not living together socially. Such aggregations may contain up to a hundred individual burrows in a small area, and may persist for several years in the same location. In these occurrences, cicada killer wasps can cause unsightly damage to flower beds and lawns
HOW DO I DISCOURAGE CICADA KILLERS FROM NESTING IN MY LAWN?
You can discourage the cicada killer wasps from nesting in your yard by maintaining thick, lush turf that is cut at the highest setting; and by adding a thick layer of mulch to flower beds.
WHAT DO CICADA KILLERS EAT?
- Adults feed on flower nectar and sap
- Larvae feed on cicadas which the females catch, paralyze by stinging, and bring to the nest.
WHAT IS THE LIFE CYCLE OF CICADA KILLERS?
- The cicada killer is a solitary wasp rather than a social wasp like yellow jackets.
- In late summer, the female cicada killer digs a tunnel in the ground for a nest. The tunnel is approximately 6” straight down and another 6 inches horizontally.
- The entrance to the burrow is about the size of a quarter in diameter, with a prominent mound of excavated soil around it.
- The female cicada killer digs four to five cells off of the main tunnel which will be used as a nursery. However, it is possible for one burrow to have as many as 20 cells.
- After digging the tunnel, the female finds and stings a cicada.
- The cicada is not dead but paralyzed.
- The female cicada killer will straddle the immobilized cicada and carry it to her nest, launching herself and her prey from a tree and flying, or dragging it as necessary. This is remarkable because the cicada is proportionally equal to or heavier than the wasp herself.
- After stuffing the cicada into one of the nursery cells, the female cicada killer lays one unfertilized egg and seals the chamber. (She will place 2 cicadas in the cells of fertilized eggs.)
- Fertilized eggs become females; unfertilized eggs become males.
- The egg hatches in 2-3 days
- The larvae feed on the paralyzed cicada(s). Feeding continues for 4 to 10 days.
- The larva will then spin a cocoon and overwinters
- In the spring, the larva will leave its cocoon and pupate.
- The new adults dig out of the tunnel around mid-July and look to mate.
- There is one generation of cicada killer wasps per year.
- Males die shortly after mating.
- Between mating and mid-August, the new female digs the nest, stocks it with cicadas, and the cycle is repeated.
- Females die after laying all of their eggs.