• By Adam Probst, Extension Agent

Agriculture & Natural Resources


Cicada killer wasp returning to its burrow with a cicada. (Photo by Lee Townsend, UK)

Cicada killer wasps

Sources: Dr. Lee Townsend; UK Entomologist Cicada killer wasps are busy during July and August, capturing prey and bringing it to individual burrows to feed their developing larvae. Although intimidating, these harmless insects can be destructive along walkways and on golf courses where their excavations bring soil to the surface. These are also often found in and around barns and barn lots.

Cicada killers burrow in areas that meet their needs: well-drained loamy or sandy soil along with a handy supply of cicadas, their only food.

If practical, individual burrow entrances can be treated with an insecticide dust labeled for wasp control. Wasps pick up the dust as they enter and leave their tunnels. Control attempts in specific areas may reduce their numbers but as long as the site remains attractive, these and insects will move in from nearby areas in subsequent years. Repeat treatments will be needed.

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