Cicada Killers

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Sphecius speciosus
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1.5" - 2"

Cicada Killers, sometimes known as Cicada Hawks, are more terrifying than they are harmful. These insects do a great deal of population control against cicadas and tend to burrow in areas where cicadas are common.

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Cicada killers, as their name suggests, are hefty, lone-wolf type wasps native to North America. Their size can be quite imposing, with some reaching 1.5 inches long. Boasting a black body adorned with yellowish/white markings, these fascinating creatures are truly a sight to behold. Their key feature though, is their stinger - Cicada killers use it to paralyze cicadas, which they then lug back to their nests as food for their larvae.

Yes, they quite literally carry cicadas in their legs back to their nests - quite the sight to behold.


Living up to their names, cicada killers are predators with their diet primarily consisting of cicadas. Each female cicada killer is a self-reliant entity, creating her own nest and raising her progeny independently in the ground. The female diligently excavates a burrow in the ground, laying her eggs within this shelter. You’ll often be able to see rather large dirt piles near where cicada killers fly around signifying their nest. Once these eggs hatch into larvae, they feast on the paralyzed cicadas that the mother wasp has provided. The larvae eventually pupate within the burrow, emerging as adults in the next spring, thereby continuing the cicada killer lifecycle.


Cicada killers are found in habitats ranging from woodlands, meadows, to even suburban backyards. They are most frequently spotted in areas that are rich in cicada populations, their primary food source.

Human Interaction

Typically, cicada killers are not regarded as a significant nuisance. Nonetheless, their sizable stature and conspicuous stinger can make them somewhat intimidating. Despite the fear they may instill, their stings aren't generally harmful to humans. Cicada killers play a valuable role in controlling cicada populations, earning them the badge of beneficial (but scary) insects.


What can I do to get rid of cicada killers?
Why do cicada killers invade my yard?
How can I identify a cicada killer?

Pest Control

If you find yourself amidst a severe cicada killer problem, enlisting the aid of a professional pest control company may be the most effective solution. Such companies possess the experience and know-how to resolve your cicada killer issue swiftly and efficiently.

Here are some preventive measures to help keep cicada killers from setting up camp in your yard:

  • Ensure you remove any cicadas from your yard.
  • Seal any fissures or holes in your foundation.
  • Opt for planting trees and shrubs that are unappealing to cicada killers, like chrysanthemums and marigolds.
  • Regularly inspect your yard for any signs of cicada killer burrows.
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