Cicada Killer

Subject: Ground nesting hornet
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ
July 28, 2013 11:34 am
My brother has an infestation of these in his yard. They make dirt pile nests in the ground similar to cicada killers, but these are something else. They’re quite large, about 2 1/2 inches long. They appear to be docile as they have not stung anyone. Thanks for your help!
Signature: Jen & Doug

Cicada Killer
Cicada Killer

Dear Jen & Doug,
This is a Cicada Killer, a large wasp that preys upon Cicadas to feed its brood.  They are solitary wasps and they are not considered aggressive, and as your email indicates, they “appear to be docile.”  For years we have said that we have not received a verified report of a Cicada Killer sting, but we recently posted a comment claiming that a person was stung and the sting was quite painful.  Male Cicada Killers will defend their territory by chasing much larger creatures, however male wasps are unable to sting since the stinger is a modified ovipositor, an organ for laying eggs.

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