Cicada Killer Wasps in the Capital Region

June 13, 2019

Earlier this week, we wrote about cicadas, Cicadas-Summertime is here. The cicadas discussed in the previous article are responsible for the orchestra of evening sounds you can hear on a summer night.

These are not.

When you see a cicada killer wasp you will know it. They are large and in charge weighing in at upwards of an inch to two inches. Often mistaken for a yellow jacket due to their markings and their venom makes for a serious sting.

What are Cicada Killer Wasps?

Cicada Mania is a tremendous website and rather than reinvent the wheel, we thought we would share their spectacular explanation of how these cicada killer wasps work:

Yes, these wasps kill cicadas. It works like this:

  1. The adult female wasp will paralyze the cicada with her venomous sting.
  2. The wasp will carry the cicada to a burrow, where it will place the cicada.
  3. The wasp will lay an egg under the left or right second leg of the cicada.
  4. The egg hatches, and the larvae begins to eat the cicada, while taking care to keep it alive.
  5. Once the larvae has had its fill, it spins a cocoon, in which it will change into an adult wasp.

Isn’t that something? The cicada is alive during this process. Not a pleasant thought!

Tell me more. Do cicada killer wasps harm humans?

These interesting insects are very unique and somewhat scary. Here are some fun facts:

  • Cicada killer wasps are not aggressive but the female, if threatened, will sting.
  • Males do not have stingers but are fiercely territorial.
  • Cicada killer wasps are solitary and do not defend the nests.
  • Cicada killer wasp venom paralyzes their prey.
  • They are somewhat helpful as they feed on cicadas and cicadas can harm trees.
  • Females can cause damage to landscaping, and yards because of the tunnels they dig.

Cicada killer wasps prevention and control.

Cicada killers love a messy lawn where they can burrow in and dig a hole to bury the paralyzed cicada. Use mulch when appropriate to eliminate areas of low grass or bare lawn. Keep your lawn thick and healthy making it more difficult for the cicada killers to burrow.

Do not attempt to treat or use over the counter pesticides on these pests. Remember, these are stinging pests and the females will get aggressive when confronted or threatened. The professional technicians from Accurate Pest will inspect, evaluate, and determine a plan of action to control stinging insects such as cicada killing wasps.

Accurate Pest Control provides treatment and control of flying and biting insects in Albany, Schenectady, Saratoga, and surrounding counties. To protect your family and friends during outdoor activities and parties, ask us about Special Event Treatments.

Please note: If you have been stung or are experiencing pain and swelling from a sting, please seek immediate medical attention.

Photo by H Berends from Free Images

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