Cicada Killer Wasp
You will see cicada killer wasps mid to late summer, they are very large; growing up to 1 1/2 inches long with a loud buzzing sound that terrify many people because of their size and loud sound. They hunt down Cicadas and drag them back to a nest hole in the ground to complete their mating cycle. The males do not sting; however if the female is provoked she can deliver a painful sting. The burrowing nest they make in the lawn can be bothersome as they dig holes surrounded by mounded soil, but most people fear the wasp more than the nuisance of the soil on the lawn.
- Keeping a very dense and healthy lawn is the best prevention
Remedy: You can place a dust type of insecticide at the base of the hole, which will result in it getting in contact with the female. Eliminate the female and you eliminate the nest.
Cicada killers wasp is considered as turf grass pest. However, their affects are short lived and quickly disappears when weather conditions become normal. When they dig the lawn certainly it causes damage to grass. However, digging may benefit the soil in aeration. The animals themselves are short –lived. Their life is no more than a month.
Cicada killers wasp has a red head and thorax. Wings are of russet color. The abdomen features black and yellow strips. Wasp varies in size from 1-1/4 to 1/8 inches long. The egg is greenish-white and described as cigar shaped. The maximum length of larvae is 1-1/4 inches. However, the mature larvae is shrunken and leathery. The pupa cannot be observed clearly. Spindle shaped woven cocoon surrounds the pupa. This spindle shaped cocoon is 1-1/4 to 9/16 inches long. Casing is hard, stiff and brown in color.
Cicada killer wasp normally arrives in July and gone away by the second week of August. Due to these wasps it is very difficult to use the backyard or garden or lawn area.
The pest can be controlled by using carbaryl (Sevin) dust, applying it in the nests entrances. To get better results use the pest control operator many times. Mow the grass in evening when cicada killer wasp population is high. Chemical control option is spraying pyrethroids down into the burrow entrance. It will kill the female but not necessarily off springs.
Cicada killer wasp can be prevented effectively through cultural control practices like appropriate mowing, regular watering, fertilization and maintaining a healthy lawn.