Cicada Killers

   It’s about 2 months earlier than normal, but our area is once again home to the intimidating giant wasps called the cicada-killer. If you have noticed them “dive bombing” you in your yard around your driveway, trees,or landscaping, you are not alone. Most people are afraid of wasps in general and really big wasps (like cicada-killers) can really make a person nervous. They are erratic flyers on top of that, and don’t seem to notice humans are any different than trees (if you watch them long enough you may actually see them run smack into a building or tree).

   So how dangerous are these big wasps? Cicada-killers (thankfully) are actually quite harmless to humans. Usually the ones that you see flying around are the males, which CAN NOT sting you! A male stinger is actually a modified ovipositor (egg laying organ); no male ants, bees, or wasps can sting. To be stung by a female cicada-killer, you either have to step on her with your bare feet or grab her with your bare hands. Walking by their hole will not provoke them like other types of stinging insects.

   Cicada-killers are, as the name implies, out to seek and kill cicadas and locusts. They normally don’t live long at all, as the males will live for around 2 weeks that are full of fighting, intense patroling, and mating before they die. The females  live for around 4 weeks, in which they mate, dig many ground burrows, and hunt. (100 female cicada-killers can kill around 16,000 cicadas from the surrounding area)

   After emerging and mating, females will spend about 2 weeks searching for ideal areas to dig their u-shaped mounds and burrows. They will choose southeast facing, full-sun areas with sparse vegetation, well-drained slopes, and large deciduous trees nearby. They prefer sandy soils to loose clay in bare or grass covered banks, berms, hills, raised sidewalks, driveways, and patio slabs. Some may even nest under shrubs, in planters, window boxes, and flower beds.

   We have experience with these “big wasps”, as we have been working on them since their arrival to our area about 5 years ago. So call or office, or e-mail us todayand find out how we can get your yard back for you.

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