Ground Wasps (?)
July 20, 2009
These insects have moved into my patio area, nesting in the ground under and around my ivy. They are about two inches long, and are quite agressive. Can you help identify them?
Allergic & Afraid
Dear Allergic and Afraid,
This is a Cicada Killer Wasp. They are large and they are scary and they are quite territorial. The males defend territory and the females often nest in colonies. In the nearly 9 years we have been writing this column online, we have gotten hundreds of letters about Cicada Killers, but we have never gotten a report of them stinging anyone. Males are incapable of stinging, and females save their venom to paralyze Cicadas so they can provision their burrows to feed the young. We would never say that they would never sting, as a female can sting, but we do stand by our never receiving any reports of anyone being stung.