Cicada Wasp Removal

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Cicada killers are active across the Northeast from late July into August with the tasks of digging underground burrows and provisioning them with paralyzed cicadas that will be food for their grub-like larvae along with being a major nuisance for homeowners throughout the Capital District.

Why are cicada killers so abundant in some areas?

  • They choose sites with specific characteristics: well-drained, light-textured soils in full sunlight that are near trees harboring cicadas.
  • These areas include: along sidewalk or patio edges, in flower beds, gardens, or lawns.
  • Sometimes skunks may dig up areas that have been extensively tunneled by the wasps to feed on cicadas and wasp larvae.

Are cicada killers dangerous?

  • Females have significant stingers which they plunge into cicadas to inject venom that paralyzes them. Males lack stingers but are territorial.
  • Their stings are painful.
  • They are not aggressive and do not have nest-guarding instinct of honey bees and hornets. You can walk through areas where they are active without attracting attention.
  • The buzzing noise that the wasps make and the warning colors on their wings and bodies intimidate and discourage predators that see them as a large meal. When attacked, females will use their stinger to protect themselves.

Will cicada killers harm pets?

  • Those that pick females probably will be stung, remember it, and associate the experience with the buzzing sound and warning colors.
  • Some may have a severe reaction to the venom, especially if stung in the mouth.
  • If that is suspected, the animal should be taken to a veterinarian immediately.
  • Wasp flight begins in early morning and can continue until dusk. Wasps remain in their burrows at night.

Can cicada killers cause damage?

  • Female cicada killers dig extensive tunnels where their young will be raised, displacing several pounds of soil in the process.
  • Occasionally, it can result in some damage, such destabilizing a brick patio laid on sand.
  • Cicada killers may dig in the loose soil in vegetable gardens or flower beds. Water the base of the plant since wasps do not like wet soil.
  • Cicada killers may begin to dig in sandy areas on playgrounds or in golf course sand traps. If practical, keep these areas wet or regularly churn the sand to discourage wasps from establishing their tunnels.

Can cicada killer wasps be controlled?

  • Applications made into the burrows or to the entrances where the wasps enter and leave is most effective.

Will cicada killers every go away?

  • These wasps will stay and thrive where their basic needs are met.
  • Even if aggressive control measures kill the inhabitants, the site will remain attractive to new settlers in ensuing years.

What are the tunnels like?

  • Cicada killer tunnels usually have a distinctive U-shaped collar of loose soil around the opening.
  • Individual tunnels are can range from 30- to 70-inches long and may run 12- to 15-inches below the surface.
  • There are an average of 15 egg-shaped side chambers a tunnel, each containing 1 to 3 paralyzed cicadas and an egg which hatches in 2 to 3 days.
  • During the fall, the larva spins a silken case, shrinks, and prepares to overwinter.
  • Development will be completed when wasps emerge next summer. There is one generation each year.

An estimated 40% of the developing larvae (a dozen or more per tunnel) may emerge as adults the following year so numbers can increase rapidly. With this in mind, it is surely important to address the issue instead of leaving it untreated. Serving Albany and Clifton Park along with the entire Capital Region, Thomas Pest Services trained professionals will effective remove wasps from your home and property. Learn more about stinging insects and bee removal services in Albany or contact us today!

Source: University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

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