Our gardens and homes often attract a range of insect life. Some of it is welcome and some of it is not. One insect that is often not welcome, usually as a result of a misunderstanding, is the cicada killer wasp. Cicada killer wasps are named as such due to the relationship they have with cicadas. They are also sometimes called sand hornets even though the insect is not a hornet at all. The cicada wasp is one of the largest species of wasp and can appear to be pretty fearsome, which is part of its defense. In reality, only the female can sting and will only do so when provoked. It is better to be careful and not aggravate the wasp though.
If you think your garden is suffering from an infestation of cicada killer wasps, call Richland Pest and Bee Control to learn about their potential effects on your environment, as well as how to exterminate the infestation.
As the name suggests, the cicada killer wasp uses the cicada to incubate its young. However, adult cicada killer wasps do not actually feed on the cicada that are caught. Instead, adults feed on nectar and plant sap, and use the cicadas they capture as food for the next generation. It hunts these insects in the deciduous trees the cicada lives in. Since large populations of cicadas can become a serious problem and can cause substantial damage to heavily infested trees, the cicada killer wasp is useful in controlling cicada populations. The cicada wasp is a solitary insect and does not build hives like many of its cousins. Instead the female will dig a burrow in well ventilated soil and lay her eggs in the protected confines of her burrow. They favor sandy soil and loose clay, but are not averse to burrowing through grass or next to pathways. They prefer areas that are exposed to plenty of sun as this helps with the egg incubation. In some large infestations, there can be hundreds of nests in a yard, with each hole representing a single nest. Unlike ground nesting yellow jackets, these are individual nests each ruled by a different queen, rather than a single nest with multiple entries that is ruled by a single queen.
Cicada killer wasp queens will hunt cicadas in the nearby trees and deposit her egg within the cicada which is paralyzed by her venom. When the egg hatches, the larvae feeds on the cicada and then moves on to feed on the other cicada their mother has stockpiled within the nest. It will continue in this fashion until it reaches maturity. Each egg is placed on a single cicada and sealed in its own nest chamber. Females are provided with more than one cicada while males are only given one.
Since the cicada killer wasp relies on the cicada to incubate its young, they have timed their life cycle to coincide with that of the cicada. If you hear cicada about you can be almost certain that there are cicada killer wasps in the vicinity. If there are none yet, there may soon be. The male wasp is extremely territorial and may be seen grappling with other male wasps for possession of a particular territory. This is often mistakenly assumed to be dangerous behavior, but the male wasp does not present any danger to humans or their pets, since they are not able to sting.
It is not uncommon for an area to become infested with cicada killer wasps if there is an abundant supply of cicada nearby in addition to food for the adult wasp. Since each female will dig her own burrow (they share burrows only in rare circumstances) the damage to your lawn may be extensive. Any area that is exposed to the sun and has an acceptable variety of soil is a potential nesting site.
The burrows can cause damage to the grass and an extensive infestation may kill the lawn off. They may also do damage to the roots of plants that they burrow near or under. Many people are nervous of having the cicada killer wasp in their gardens for fear of children and pets being stung. Though this is unlikely due to the placid nature of the wasp, it’s still a possibility.
There is no proven method for preventing an infestation of cicada killer wasps. The best thing you can do is keep your eye on the cicada population and to watch for the beginnings of burrows in your yard, especially in hot, dry, or sandy areas. If you see the tell tale sand piles on your lawn you should contact a specialist at Richland Pest & Bee Control to safely eliminate the wasps before the female mates and starts to lay eggs. Once there is a single nest and a single egg hatches, you are going to have a much bigger problem. A single cicada killer wasp can turn into hundreds within a few short years due to the number of eggs laid each season.
Early detection is the best way to control a cicada killer wasp infestation. It is important that you do not try to remove the wasp yourself. Although it is a generally placid wasp, it will sting if it is handled roughly or feels that its nest is being threatened.
Click through the questions below to learn more about cicada killer wasps control services options from Richland Pest & Bee Control. If you have any additional questions, feel free to reach out by contacting us online, or giving us a call at 1-800-308-9126.
Cicada killer wasps are large wasps that are known for hunting cicadas. They are generally not aggressive toward humans, but can be intimidating due to their size.
While cicada killer wasps are not harmful to humans, they can be considered pests if they are disrupting an area where people frequently walk or play. Additionally, their burrowing can cause damage to turf grass or other plants.
Look for holes in the ground that are surrounded by mounds of dirt. You may also see the wasps flying low to the ground in the area.
While it is possible to remove cicada killer wasps yourself, we recommend contacting a professional pest control company to ensure the job is done safely and effectively.
At Richland Pest and Bee Control Company, we use a combination of environmentally-friendly methods to control cicada killer wasps, such as insecticides that are specifically designed for wasps and their nests.
The length of time it takes to get rid of cicada killer wasps depends on the size of the infestation and the methods used for control. We can provide an estimate of the timeline once we assess the situation.
We can provide recommendations for preventing cicada killer wasps from nesting in the same area in the future, such as reducing bare soil or improving drainage in the area.
Yes, we offer a satisfaction guarantee for our cicada killer wasp control services. If you are not satisfied with the results, we will work with you to make it right.
The best treatment for cicada killers is to contact a professional pest control company that has experience dealing with these wasps. They will use environmentally-friendly methods to control the wasps and prevent them from returning. In some cases, physical removal of the nests may be necessary.
Cicada killers are active during the summer months and typically only live for a few weeks to a month. The females will burrow into the ground to lay their eggs, and the males will spend their time defending their territory and mating.
While cicada killers are not typically aggressive toward humans and generally do not sting unless provoked, their stings can be painful. However, their venom is not considered dangerous to humans and typically only causes mild swelling and discomfort. If you are stung, you can apply a cold compress and take over-the-counter pain relievers to alleviate the discomfort. If you have a severe reaction, seek medical attention immediately.