displaced soil

Cicada Killer Wasps are largely active during summer in our region, especially late summer. As we enter their peak activity period, there are a few things you need to know about Cicada Killer Wasps. Perhaps the most important of which is: do cicada killer wasps sting? Let’s cover what you need to know.

About Cicada Killer Wasps

These wasps are mostly solitary and are not normally encountered unless you’re looking for them or they find you!  We’ll explain below.  They typically look like LARGE wasps but are paler with different abdomen markings and can be as large as 2 inches long.

They typically find you by digging tunnels in soft soil, such as flowerbeds, loose earth in driveway cracks and between patio bricks or your nice inground pool’s landscaping. While not typically aggressive they can be intimidating and take the fun out of a nice “pool day.” The tunnels they dig regularly go as deep as a foot into the earth and can displace a significant amount of dirt to the surface. Cicada Killer Wasps will use these tunnels to house larva, an average of 12 or more larvae per tunnel.

What Cicada Killer Wasps hunt

It should come as no surprise, but the Cicada Killer Wasp will hunt, well Cicadas! Female wasps will use their stinger on a Cicada to incapacitate it. The female stinger contains a venom capable of paralyzing its prey. They will bring paralyzed Cicada back to their burrow for their larva to consume when they hatch. What a great idea for an “Alien” sci-fi film!

Do Cicada Killer Wasps sting people?

The short answer is yes. However, the longer, more like answer is not really. Cicada Killer Wasps are highly unlikely to sting a person unless directly handled and/or agitated. More importantly, only females have stingers. They are not territorial and therefore won’t sting a creature approaching its nest unlike social wasps like yellow jackets and hornets that are very aggressive about protecting their nests. Males Cicada Killers are slightly more protective of the burrow but can only accomplish harassing an intruder by buzzing menacingly.

When females do sting, they can be harmful, but largely non-lethal to humans. Pets can have a more adverse reaction, especially if stung in the mouth, which is much more common.

Should you come across one of these wasps, you can safely assume a burrow is nearby and thus larva. They may not have a significant presence but because of the number of larvae a female can lay, a single nest can present a much larger problem the following summer.

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Keep your property from being overrun. Our team at Graduate Pest Solutions specializes in prevention. Call us at 413-566-8222 or contact us with any questions or if you are experiencing a pest problem. We have the knowledge and service necessary to help keep your home and workplace pest-free!

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