Cicada-killing wasps

August 28, 2013 (CHICAGO)

Instead, working alone, females construct the nest and do all the foraging needed to feed their young. When the female Cicada Killer finds a dog-day cicada, she paralyzes it her stinger and carries it to the underground nest she has built at the end of an underground tunnel.

She lays an egg on the paralyzed prey, and the larva hatches and feeds on it over several weeks. (Cicada Killers actually take 2 cicadas into the tunnel as the perfect amount of food for a developing larva)

Females begin to search for prey after the nest site has been established, often adjacent to pavement structures.

The larva stays underground in a dormant phase until the following summer, when it emerges and starts the process again.

Cicada Killers are the largest of the hunting wasps.

Despite their fearsome appearance, they rarely sting and do not contain the potent venom of the social wasps like yellowjackets.


  • Photos of home with severe infestation (this house is the only one on the block in full sun, all others are very shady. It seems all the Cicada Killers went there due to the sunny conditions.)
  • Note holes along sidewalk
  • See mounds of soil where digging has occurred
  • Dead Cicada Killer to view up close
  • Bonide Household Insect Killer (32 ounce spray bottle) with a 4 month residual effect has been successful to control the infestation.

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