University of Maryland Extension

Cicada Killer Wasps - Lawns

cicada killer wasps killing a cicada

 A cicada killer wasp with its prey. Photo: L.M. Vasvary

Cicada killers resemble large yellowjackets. They are mostly black with pale yellow markings on the abdomen and are about 2 inches long. Despite their appearance, these insects are inoffensive and usually will not bother people even when provoked. Their sting is meant for paralyzing their prey and normally does not cause a reaction in humans. They are considered beneficial because they reduce cicada populations. However, they may cause lawn damage if there are large numbers of them nesting in close proximity to each other.

cicada killer wasp adult
Photo: Nancy Hinkle, University of Georgia, 

cicada killer wasp hole and excavated soil
Damage to Lawn. Photo K. Mathias, UMD

Publication (PDF) HG 104 - Mining Bees and Ground- Nesting Wasps   

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