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Cicada Killer Identification & Prevention

What are cicada killers?

Cicada killer wasps are a large species of wasp. Their bodies are red and black, with a yellow band around their abdomens. Cicada killers have reddish-brown heads and wings that are transparent and heavily veined. To the untrained eye, cicada killers look very similar to oversized yellow jackets, and adult cicada killers may grow up to 1-1/2 to 2 inches in length. Unlike many other species of stinging insects, cicada killers are not social; they are solitary, with females nesting in individual underground burrows.

a cicada killer wasp on the ground outside of a home in charleston south carolina

Are cicada killers dangerous?

Cicada killers received their name because females sting and paralyze cicada bugs and other insects to feed their newly hatched larvae. Their large size and name make it seem that these insects are much more dangerous than they are; in fact, males do not have stingers, and they are only aggressive towards each other. Conversely, females have stingers but are docile and rarely sting people. However, care should always be taken around cicada killers, as their venom is strong enough to trigger dangerous allergic reactions in some people.

Why do I have a cicada killer problem?

Cicada killers live and breed outside, making it possible for them to become a problem on any property. They are especially attracted to properties with sandy soil, window boxes, and lawns with bare spots. Females are predators, hunting down and paralyzing insects to feed their developing larvae. Properties with a lot of insect activity draw cicada killers to it. Additionally, adults feed on flower nectar or sap from trees and other large plants, so properties with many flowering plants and trees are also attractive to them.

Where will I find cicada killers?

Cicada killers are most active around yards and gardens during the early summer season. Cicada killers mate in the late spring or early summer. After mating, the female creates a burrow in the soil, making individual chambers to lay her eggs; she then hunts down and places a paralyzed cicada bug or another insect with each egg before sealing up the separate sections. Cicada killers nest in lawns, around play structures, in sandy areas, and along the edges of foundations and sidewalks.

How do I get rid of cicada killers?

If you are looking for pest control in the Charlotte area, turn to the local and experienced pest professionals at Aruza Pest Control. We offer home and business owners the benefits of comprehensive pest control, superior customer service, and the peace of mind that comes with our guaranteed services. Our eco-friendly solutions solve current pest problems and keep them from returning. For home and business owners who want to protect their property from cicada killers, contact Aruza Pest Control today!

How can I prevent cicada killers in the future?

In addition to our home pest control and commercial pest control services, use the following tips to prevent cicada killers on your property:

  • Stop cicada killers from finding their way inside by sealing cracks in the foundation and repairing torn screens.

  • Seed any bare areas in your lawn.

  • Make sure your lawn is healthy, dense, and well-maintained.

  • Limit the number of flowering trees and plants you have on your property, especially close to the exterior of your home.


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