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up close image of a cicada killer wasp on a leaf

Overview of Cicada Killers

Cicada killers are very interesting insects. This wasp species looks like an extremely large yellow jacket. They are one of the largest wasps. The can grow up to one and a half inches long with their long and segmented bodies. The head and middle segments are a rust color while the back segment is striped black and yellow. They have yellow tinted wings and antenna. Their main goals are to mate and paralyze cicada bugs to feed their young. Males die shortly after mating and females die shortly after laying all her eggs.

Cicada Killer Habits

Cicada killers will be seen mostly in the early months of summer. They like to burrow near the edge of the forest, gardens and waste places. They need to have a well lit area with light soil and good drainage to build their nests. It is also ideal for them to be near trees where cicada bugs live. Cicada killers emerge in summer to mate. Once a female has mated she begins to burrow into the soil making oval shaped chambers for her eggs. Then she hunts for cicada bugs until she has one for every egg that she lays. She stings and paralyzes the cicada and brings it back to the chamber. She then lays an egg on it and goes out to hunt more cicada bugs. Once the egg hatches into a larva it will eat the cicada bug and then build a cocoon and hibernate until the following spring when it will begin to dig its way out of the tunnel to mate again.

Threats Posed By Cicada Killers

Cicada killers can sting humans. They are not usually aggressive and will usually leave you alone, but if a female cicada killer feels threatened she will sting. However it is usually safe to walk past a nest and not be bothered by a female cicada killer. Male cicada killers do not have stingers but are territorial. They may seem aggressive to people nearby but are actually harmless. This will be hard to tell from your prospective if they are male or female. Female cicada killers can cause property damage by the tunnels they dig.

Cicada Killer Prevention

Cicada killers will stay on your property and thrive when their three basic needs are met. They need dirt to dig in, sunlight and proper drainage, and plenty of cicada to eat. If you can control or reduce these three needs from lining up for the cicada killers then you will deter them from residing on your property.

Cicada Killer Control

If you already have a cicada killer problem on your property it is best to call a professional pest exterminator to help you eliminate them and keep them away. Cicada killers usually have to be dealt with using pesticides which can be very dangerous if used improperly.  Contact Big Blue Bug Solutions to find out how we can help you get rid of stinging insects on your property.

Sources

http://www.fcps.edu/islandcreekes/ecology/cicada_killer.htm
http://www2.ca.uky.edu/entomology/entfacts/ef004.asp

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