East Cooper residents may find these intimidating looking wasps burrowing in their yard during the hot summer. The cicada killer is a wasp with yellowish and black stripes, but is much larger than a yellow jacket. The wasp may be 1.5″ to 2″ long and have a wingspan of 3″. Unlike the yellow jacket, the cicada killer is a solitary insect and lives alone. The female has a stinger and can be aggressive if she feels threatened. The males have no stinger and are usually the ones you may see flying around the entry hole to the ground nest. Basically, these males are waiting for the female to emerge so the can go on a “date”. The males often scare people because they appear to be aggressive. They really are not interested in you, they are fighting with each other in hopes of winning over the female.
Cicada killers hunt cicadas. The female will sting a cicada and bring it to her nest. She then lays an egg in the cicada. The eggs will hatch and the young cicada killer larvae will feed on the dead cicada. People will see the cicada killers emerge from the ground in the spring and become terrified due to their size. Many people mistake this wasp for a hornet. In most situations pest control measures are not needed. Sometimes control is needed if we find nests near playgrounds, sand traps and tee boxes on golf courses, ball fields, or plant bedding areas near a home or business.
The mating ritual will go on for about 60 days and then they will disappear until next summer.
If you need help with identification or control of these ground dwelling wasps please give East Cooper Termite and Pest Solutions a call.