What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Dear Mr. Bugman,
I live in northern Connecticut. Yesterday morning I noticed from a distance what I
initially thought was a dragonfly over my lawn. Upon closer inspection, I was totally amazed by something I have never in my life seen before. It looked like a GIANT yellow jacket. It was 4 1/2 to 5 inches long. The abdomen on it was black with bright yellow stripes and shiny, just like a yellow jacket. It flew around close to the ground for a few seconds, then disappeared into a hole in the ground about 1 1/2 to 2 cm. wide. I noticed quite a bit of dirt thrown around the outside of the hole, apparently from it digging its nest out. It wasn’t aggressive, as when the dog tried to sniff at it (I pulled him back in a hurry!) it just kept looking for its nest. I do keep honeybees within 30 feet of where this thing is making its home, and I’m hoping whatever it is, it is no threat to them as real yellow jackets are. Any information you can provide will be sincerely appreciated.

Sounds like a Cicada Killer, Sphecius speciosus, a large (though not as large as you indicate) solitary wasp that preys on cicadas and burrows in the ground. It will not harm the bees.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
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11 Responses to Giant Yellow Jacket or Cicada Killer???

  1. D. Dunaway says:

    I have seen 2 of these giant yellow jackets in Houston, Texas within the last month, August, 2014.

  2. Danielle says:

    I was shocked one day when I walked unto my porch and heard a “screaming” sound. I looked and saw a 4inch GIANT yellow-jacket-looking monster attacking a katydid! It kept stinging it and the katydid was “screaming”! I looked to the left and saw that my apple tree had more of these monsters and that they had burrowed into the apple and ate it…leaving just the skin and core. I found a dead one and brought it down to PEEC (Pocono Environmental Education Center) in Dingmans Ferry, Pa and was told it was a GIANT JAPANESE HORNET. I almost literally peed my pants!

    • bugman says:

      Thanks for relaying your chilling account. Invasive species without natural predators can wreak havoc on native creatures.

  3. Gina says:

    I found one dead by my front door about two weeks ago…..and this morning around 8:30am I just saw another fly to the edge of my back porch concrete slab and disappeared. Should I be concern….I have two small dogs and three cats that play out there everyday. And my children play back there with their friends.

    Am I to report this…..I did keep the dead body of the first one I found. Because I wasn’t sure and besides it does look cool and scary. Never seen something like that….

    Baytown, Tx.

    • bugman says:

      Yellow Jackets are social wasps that will defend their nests by stinging any perceived threat.

    • Danielle Waked says:

      Was it one of these GIANT ones? If it really was a Giant Japanese Hornet…a Ranger @ my local environmental center said that their stings/venom can cause necrosis @ the puncture site. If you see a lot of these…you might wanna keep ur animals inside until you can find out FOR SURE if they really ARE giant jap. hornets by a LICENSED PROFESSIONAL. If they are, you might want to find out how they can be “removed” from your property, if a Pest Control Professional can find the nest(s) and DESTROY. I would say the “destroy” word about NATIVE yellow jackets unless they are living on/in your home/backyard…
      but Giant Japanese Hornets are an INVASIVE SPECIES and should not be here. And their stings are very severe. BUGMAN..If I got anything wrong PLEASE let me know! I wanna be informed!

  4. Don Morgan says:

    I saw a yellow jacket that was as wide as a bumble bee and twice as long. It was near fish lake near an old growth forest in eastern Washington. Has anyone seen these bees?

    • J Pavalot says:

      Yes in SE Arizona, along the Gila River in the Safford Valley.. It is also an area where there are many cicada life cycles…(ツ)

    • Danielle Waked says:

      Yes, they are probably GIANT JAPANESE HORNETS. Invasive species.

  5. brittany says:

    Ok I got bit/ stung not sure what they do Lol. But it had climbed up my pant leg at the barn, when I tried to get it out it got me! It hurt way worse then any sting I have ever had! All night my leg stung and burned, now today my leg has a red ring around the site. It is about a 5 in diameter of a red circle.

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