The cicada killer wasp is a large digger wasp that creates tunnels in the ground to use as nesting sites. The female will deposit one egg per cell, but she will prepare and use dozens of cells during her short lifetime. The cicada killer is named after its habit of stinging and paralyzing cicadas and taking them back to the nest to serve as food for their growing larvae. These black wasps with pale yellow markings can be found throughout the United States, and can often be seen carrying a cicada that it has stung back to its nest. Cicada killer wasps are one of the largest species of wasp with adults measuring approximately two inches in length.
Cicada killer wasps are very picky when it comes to choosing a home; if they have chosen your yard to nest in, it means that you have what they are looking for in a home. Typically, cicada killer wasps look for well-drained, light textured soil. They prefer areas near trees where cicadas dwell and areas that are in direct sunlight. Cicada killers will dig along sidewalks and patio edges and in flower beds, gardens, or lawns that meet the criteria for their desired living areas.
These wasps will burrow into the ground and move around 100 cubic inches of soil to the surface – a habit that can cause unsightly mounds and may kill the grass it covers. While cicada killers can inflict minor damage to your lawn, skunks can actually increase the damage when they dig in the area of the wasp’s nest to feed on the cicadas that are buried there. The more cicada killers, the more damage will be done to your lawn; and since an estimated 40% of all developing larvae will emerge the following year as adults and will begin the whole cycle over again, cicada killer wasp numbers can rapidly increase in your yard – and so can the damage.
There really is very little that you can do to prevent cicada killer wasps from choosing your property for their nesting site; and when infestations are small, there is some discussion about whether they should be interfered with at all. Having said that, whenever a major infestation has occurred or when cicada killer wasps have chosen to nest too close to your home or your business, you should call a professional and have them take a look.
If you live in New York, be sure to contact the pest professionals here at Parkway Pest Services. We offer same day service and emergency service when necessary. Otherwise, we can typically respond the very next day. We are Green Shield certified and utilize Integrated Pest Management procedures to combat pests with baiting and exclusion practices whenever possible to limit the amount of chemicals needed to combat an infestation.
When cicada killer wasps become a problem for you on your New York property, give us a call to schedule your pest control services.