What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Wasp like insect
Location: Central North Carolina
July 23, 2011 10:35 am
body banded yellow and white. Hundreds of these insects in only a certain area. Flies close to ground mostly and seldom lite. About 1 inch long. Do not attempt to sting when I walk among them. I would guess they are mating but have never seen them mate.
Signature: Don Phillips

Cicada Killer

Hi Don,
As we do every summer, we are fielding numerous identification requests for your insect, the Cicada Killer.  We also spend considerable time trying to dissuade folks from exterminating them because they fear getting stung.  Cicada Killers are not aggressive wasps, and we would like our readership to pay special attention to what you have written:  “
Hundreds of these insects in only a certain area. …  About 1 inch long. Do not attempt to sting when I walk among them.”  Male Cicada Killers tend to try to defend territory, but males do not have stingers, so despite their sometimes aggressive behavior, they are harmless.  Females do have stingers, but the purpose of the stinger is to paralyze Cicadas to feed to her brood.  Female Cicada Killers are not aggressive and they have no interest in stinging people, though we acknowledge that they are most likely capable of stinging should one be handled or accidentally fly down an unbuttoned shirt or blouse.  Thanks so much for your letter.  It has given us an opportunity to share with our readership that despite you having hundreds of Cicada Killers nearby, you have not been threatened.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: North Carolina

5 Responses to Cicada Killer

  1. kim ruth says:

    I have about 5 nest holes for these Cicada killers in my yard. I live in lower Michigan and started noticing holes about a week ago (August 13). Today I was lucky enough to see one with it’s kill.

  2. AnitaTaco says:

    I also was lucky enough to see one with its prey, but it wasn’t a cicada, it’s a bit late in the season for cicada in Tucson. It was disappearing into a hole with a 1/2 inch a flat green bug with long bent legs like a frog. I’ve been seeing these green bugs all over my yard lately. It was really a great experience seeing it fly in, almost hovering like a helicopter, with a green bug in tow, diving into the hole first, dragging the bug right behind until they disappeared. I had no idea what it was, but I knew I had witnessed enough interesting details to get a positive ID.

    • bugman says:

      We suspect you saw a Great Golden Digger Wasp with its preferred prey, a Katydid, and not a Cicada Killer.

      • AnitaTaco says:

        Thanks for replying! You are correct that I misidentified! The katydid wasn’t the bug it was carrying so I tried to figure out what bug it did have. It was a green stink bug, i was able to identify by its shield shaped elytra, carapace? (Not sure correct term) I found it on another of your pages for the sand wasp. The much more detailed black and yellow bars of the sand wasp is exactly what we witnessed. Beautiful bug! I hope to catch a picture, she keeps coming in and out from my raised garden box. Are these as non threatening as the Cicada Killer? They don’t seem to mind us, but we aren’t fearful of it. Thanks! You have great info here! Is there a donate button somewhere?

        • bugman says:

          Sand Wasps are not aggressive. We don’t have many images on our site. Some species provision the nest with Flies and others Stink Bugs. If you get any images for our Food Chain tag, please send them using the Ask What’s That Bug? link on our site.

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