Cicada Killer Wasp page header

Cicada Killer Wasp

  • Scientific Name: Sphecius Speciosus
  • Nicknames: Giant Cicada Killer, Sand Hornet, Ground Hornet
  • Length: 1" - 1 1/8"
  • Color: Black and Yellow
  • Aggressive? No
  • Do They Sting? Yes, females can be very painful
  • Poisonous/Venomous? No
  • Disease Carrying? No
  • Invasive Species? No

The Cicada Killer Wasp

The cicada killer can be distinguished by its large size, a black body with yellow mark across the thorax and yellow stripes across the abdomen.

Their habitat is disturbed areas, lawns, forest edges, city parks, sandy lots; prefer little or no vegetation.

Cicada killers are solitary wasps. Males emerge from pupal cases in mid-July to early August, a few weeks before the females. The males tunnel out of the ground, leaving telltale holes, and select a territory that they actively defend. Upon capturing a cicada, the female stings it injecting venom. Then, she carries the cicada back to the burrow, where she lays an egg on its living, but paralyzed body. Within two weeks, the egg hatches into a larva, eats the cicada, and develops into a pre-pupa, the stage at which it will spend the winter. Cicada killers are active in late summer, the same time that cicadas are present. By September, most adults have died.

Although visually alarming, these wasps pose little threat. Females are not aggressive and rarely sting, unless excessively provoked. Males often display territorial behavior and will dive-bomb people's heads; however, they have no sting and pose no real threat. Cicada killers often nest in disturbed areas with sandy, open soils, such as lawns, golf courses, flowerbeds, volleyball courts and around swimming pools. A large population of wasps in one area can cause significant damage to lawns.

How Do We Remove Them?

One of the pest management experts at McMahon Exterminating will visit your home and provide a proper assessment and ID the bugs that are infesting your home or property to better understand the type of insects or pests that they are dealing with to properly coordinate a plan that will work best for you.

We help educate the customer on things that they might be able to do to help deter the pests as well, and will try to prevent this from becoming a reocurring infestation.

The treatment will begin and we will monitor the situtaion closely to make sure that the numbers are being depleted in the area. We want to try to deter the insects from coming to your area as opposed to just chemically treating them, as that will only be a short term solution for you but with McMahon's C.A.N. initiative and our three easy steps — Canvas the area, Act on those results, and Negate re-entry for the pest, we can work to getting your home to pest free status.