University of Maryland Extension

Cicada Killer

The cicada killer is a beneficial wasp. The female can sting if she is provoked, but the females are so busy collecting cicadas that they really are not a threat to humans. Males are territorial and can be aggressive, but cannot sting so they are not a problem to humans. Sometimes, a larger number of cicada killers will nest in a small, dry, sandy area and become a bit of nuisance.  If your landscape or gardener center customers see these large black and yellow wasps in their landscapes encourage them to leave them alone.

Adults feed on flower nectar. An adult female will find a cicada, sting it and bring it back to her nest. She lays an egg on the cicada. The egg hatches and the developing wasp larva will feed on the cicada.

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