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Date Posted: June 26, 2013
Category: Summer Pests

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cicada killer, a giant wasp

Have you seen these ENORMOUS wasps? The cicada killer should now start appearing in the next few weeks on the east coast of the US, as cicada populations have grown due to the 17-year cicada brood emerging in recent weeks.  These insects are often called ‘gentle giants’, because although they are quite large, they aren’t known for aggressive behavior towards people.  They do, however, hunt and kill cicadas, which can be a useful task, especially if you’ve witnessed the multitude of cicadas that have been out this spring. 

You can recognize a cicada killer by its size usually; there are very few other wasps as large as this species. The females tend to be larger than the males, ranging between 1.25 inches and 2 inches long.  They have a black and yellow striped abdomen and a rusty colored head with brown colored wings.  You can also recognize these insects by the nests that they create, which are typically burrowed into the ground and can be identified by the piles of soil or dirt near the burrow entrance.  These insects are usually found in the US from July to September and as their name suggests, they will use their stinger to paralyze a cicada, then they will bring it back to their burrow to feed on and help nourish their young. 

Why might you have cicada killers on your property? You may have a population of cicadas on or near your property, which could be attracting nesting cicadas. Or the soil on your property is just the kind the cicada killers are looking for. They choose to dig their burrows in areas that receive full sun with little vegetation.  They prefer soil that is sandy and they can be found anywhere on your property, including in driveways, sidewalks, patio slabs and grassy banks.  They’ve even been known to nest under shrubs in your yard, inside flower planters, in window boxes and in flowerbeds.  

Should you be worried if you have a cicada killer nest on your property? Probably not. These insects are called ‘gentle giants’ for a reason: they will rarely sting a human unless they are accidentally stepped on or if maybe you try to catch one in your hand. Even then, they still may not sting you! But, of course, we don’t recommend trying to catch one to find out.  You can probably appreciate these insects for the control they offer for the cicada populations that may be present. Cicada killers are hard workers, known for killing hundreds of cicadas during their short lifetime. They may become a problem, however, if you have a number of cicada killer burrows on your property, or if you have someone in your home that has a severe allergy to the sting of wasps. If this is the case, your best control option would be to contact a pest control company like the professionals at Big Blue Bug Solutions in MA for your cicada control solution.  Our certified technicians can take a look at your problem and give you a possible treatment plan to help eliminate these insects from your property.  Our team works hard to find a solution that fits each customer and their specific pest pressures, so we’re sure to come up with a solution that meets all your needs and takes care of your problem completely. Contact the folks at Big Blue Bug Solutions today for more information about cicada killers, control options or any of our other pest control in Worcester and MA.  Big Blue Bug Solutions also offers pest control in Providence and throughout Rhode Island as well as parts of Connecticut.

Tags: stinging insects   |   Worcester pest control   |   cicada killers   |   insect burrows   |  

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