Subject: Large Wasp ID
Location: Southeastern Washington State
July 9, 2016 12:32 pm
First time these 2″ monsters in South Eastern Washington State. Attracted to all bushes and trees, with or without fruit or flowers. attracted to water also
Signature: Tracey- Washington State

Western Cicada Killer Carnage

Western Cicada Killer Carnage

Dear Tracey,
No insect winds up on our Unnecessary Carnage page more than the Eastern Cicada Killer, because these solitary wasps are large and frightening looking, however they are not aggressive, and though a female is capable of stinging, they do not seem at all interested in stinging people.  You have submitted an image of the Eastern Cicada Killer’s western cousin, the Western Cicada Killer, and we don’t generally get Unnecessary Carnage images of the Western Cicada Killer because we just get far fewer images of them.  Like the eastern cousin, the Western Cicada Killer is a solitary wasp and it is not aggressive.  It was likely searching your trees and bushes for Cicadas because female Cicada Killers sting and paralyze Cicadas, and then drag them back to the nest they have constructed underground.  The female lays an egg on the paralyzed Cicada which then acts as food for the developing larva.

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Location: Washington

3 Responses to Western Cicada Killer Carnage

  1. We live in Washington state. We have property in Eastern Washington and each summer in zip code 99115 we get these bees! Yes very scared but not aggressive. As far as we know we have no Cicada bugs in our state so why are these bees here? Also we only see them in the month of July and then not again u til the next July. We are very curious to learn about them.

    • bugman says:

      You are mistaken that you “have no Cicada bugs in our state.” According to the Washington State University Department of Entomology site: “The orchard cicada is the common cicada of the PNW Region.” BugGuide’s data page shows the range of Cicadas and it includes the Pacific Northwest. Cicadas may not be as numerous in Washington, but they are present. Also, BugGuide does provide data that the Western Cicada Killer has been reported from Washington and sightings are in July as you have observed. Here is a BugGuide sighting of a Western Cicada Killer in Ferry County Washington.

  2. Brian Kuntz says:

    I`m in Boise Idaho and seen these at my work. I had to take a few pictures and look them up, crazy looking and large

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