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Cicada killers are large insects, approximately 1-1/8 to 1-5/8 inches long, having a black body with yellow markings across the thorax and brownish yellow wings. Though not aggressive in general, but the female may sting if they are held roughly, stepped upon, or caught in clothing.
The males do not have sting, but can strike with a sharp spine on the tip of their abdomen. Both of which are very painful. Hence, they can pose a threat if they are in and around your house.
They are solitary insects, and the female digs a burrow that is usually six to ten inches deep and about one-half inch wide. The female lays eggs in the burrow, where it also leaves the cicada that serve as food when the eggs hatch in a day or two. The larvae, in an earth costed cocoon overwinter and pupation occurs in spring. Adult wasps live for around 60 to 75 days and emerge in summer, typically during late June or early July and are seen throughout the summer months.
The female Cicada killer attacks and paralyzes its prey, and carries it to its burrow to feed its young ones. Adults may also feed on flower nectar and sap. They may nest under shrubs or in flower beds, planters, window boxes etc. They prefer open spaces, with ample sunlight and sparse vegetation.
They can cause a menace in your garden by digging up burrows, and also frighten you, especially the males who appear to be very aggressive as they fight in the air among themselves, though they don't cause harm.
How to Protect Yourself
- Cicada killers build their nest in dry, unfertilized earth, so it is better not to leave bare areas in your garden.
- Planting dense, tall vegetation in the garden and mowing the lawn on the highest setting during the nesting period would be of some help.
- Proper and heavy irrigation can also prevent Cicada killers from making nests as they do not like moist land, but do not completely avoid it.
- Regular vacuuming of the closets where clothes are stored also helps in removing the eggs of the moths, preventing them from causing infestation
- If there is too much infestation, it is better to take professional help.
We have specialized methods to provide a solution to the problem of Cicada killers.
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