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cicada killer wasp found in maryland

The Truth About Cicada Killer Wasps

In: Stinging Insects

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There are a lot of different stinging insects out there. Thanks partially to movies and cartoons of people being chased by huge swarms of “killer” insects and partly to the word “killer” itself, many find these types of stinging insects to be the most intimidating. No one wants to think about being chased by a “killer,” but like in the judicial systems, killer insects should be innocent until proven guilty, at least that is the case when it comes to the cicada killer wasp.

Cicada killer wasps are hairy, reddish and black insects and can be as big as 2 inches long. This can make them look especially intimidating, but the truth is, these wasps are known to some as gentle giants. Female cicada killer wasps have large stingers, and their sting can be very painful, but they rarely sting humans. Unlike other stinging insects, these wasps don’t even have nest protecting instincts. Male cicada killer wasps don’t even have stingers. When it comes to humans, they simply buzz around your head and because of their size, it can be tough to remember they are harmless. The primary purpose of these wasps is to do exactly what their name states, to kill cicadas (another insect) for food.

Just because these wasps are relatively harmless to humans, doesn’t mean they can’t be a real pain if you have them on your property. Female cicada killer wasps dig pretty large tunnels for their babies. They can displace several pounds of dirt in the process, making a pretty big mess. In addition to making a mess, they may dig in areas near walkways which can make some structures unstable. They also like to dig in loose soil near plants and other vegetation. Their burrowing can damage the roots of a plant.

There are some things you can do around your home to try to prevent this wasp from digging up your yard and buzzing around your property. First, water your plants on a regular basis. Cicada killer wasps do not like wet dirt so they will usually stay away from those areas if the soil is drenched. You should also try to keep your lawn mowed and watered regularly. Next, if you have a sandbox on your property, you should try to stir it up on a regular basis. Loose sand is a mansion for these insects to raise their young, and while they are not aggressive or defenders of their nests, you don’t want to risk your child getting stung. If you see a couple here and there, flying around on your property, there is no need to be alarmed, just be sure you are following these prevention tips to avoid a dirty mess in your yard or garden.

If you think you have a nest on your property, you should not try to eliminate it on your own. While these wasps don’t often sting, they do occasionally and their sting can result in the same allergic reaction as any other stinging insect. The reward is simply not worth the risk. Your best bet is to contact a pest control professional and have they take care of it for you. These pests can be tough to get rid of as they will keep coming back to a spot if they are finding food there. In fact, new inhabitants will keep coming back for years to come as long as the conditions and the food supply are good. Pest control technicians can work with you try to keep as many of these wasps off your property as possible.

Tags: pest control tips  |  Wasp


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