Description: They are very large wasps, and can reach up to 1.5 inches long. They have black abdomen with yellow markings on several of the abdominal segments and an orange tint to the wings.
Biology: Cicada Killers are solitary wasps. They are predators that capture and sting insects and spiders to provision their nests. Following the excavation of the burrow, the female locates a cicada, paralyzes it with a sting, and brings it back to the burrow. One or two cicadas may be placed in the burrow, an egg deposited on one, and upon hatching, the larva feed on the paralyzed, but still living cicada. Full-grown larvae overwinter in the burrows, pupate in the spring, and emerge in the summer as adults.
Habits: Adults are seen in mid-summer when the food for their larvae is most abundant. Many Cicada killers may be seen flying over a lawn, but each female digs her own burrow that may be up to 10 inches deep and may extend another 6 inches horizontally. A pile of soil often surrounds the entrance. The male flies guard duty over the lawn, chasing away any potential predators. While cicada killers are beneficial in reducing cicada populations, they may cause lawn damage and are frightening to the homeowners because of their large size and massive population.
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