What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Big waspy stingy looking bug
August 28, 2009
Hi ‘bugman’,
While taking my kids to a nearby beach on Lake Erie, we came across many ground burrows of these “Big waspy stingy looking bugs”, as my 8 year twins called them. I think they may be some type of Scoliid wasps, judging from the pictures on your site. We were wondering if there was any need to fear them, they seemed docile enough. They were about 2-21/2 inches long.Thanks for looking at our letter.
Joe S.
western Erie county, PA

Cicada Killer

Cicada Killer

Hi Joe,
Thanks so much for indicating in your letter that these Cicada Killers Wasps seemed docile.  Female Cicada Killers are much more intent on supplying their underground burrows with paralyzed Cicadas than with stinging humans.  Though a female Cicada Killer might sting a human, we have never received a substantiated report of them doing so.  Male Cicada Killers that cannot sting are often aggressive about defending territory, but they are perfectly harmless.  Your photos are wonderful.

Cicada Killer

Cicada Killer

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

3 Responses to Cicada Killer

  1. castleburns says:

    We were camping in north central Illinois overLabor Day weekend, and my son got stung by one of those “docile” cicada killer wasps. His reddness started about the size of a quarter, then grew to the size of his hand. By the time we got to the E.R. the next day, it ran most of his calf. Yes, we gave him Benedryl and anti itch cream. The E.R. doctor said if it ever happens again, to mix Adolf meat tenderizer into a paste and put it on the stung spot and that should pull the venom out. He is on an antibiotic to be safe in case he did have an allergic reaction.

    • bugman says:

      Dear castleburns,
      Without a photo, we wouldn’t be certain that a Cicada Killer is the culprit. While it is possible, we would think the equally large and not to dissimilar looking European Hornet might have been the stinger.

  2. Tim says:

    I have a lot of these Eastern Cicada Killers that have burrowed in my front yard. I had been trying to plant new grass in the front and now have about 2 dozen burrows all around. What can I do to get them to leave without killing them? They do seem docile. I have captured one. It’s definitely a female as it’s trying to sting the Tupperware container. I don’t want eggs all over my yard and these wasps as I am allergic to stings as well as big holes all over when planting grass.

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