Cicada Killer Carnage

Subject: Is this a cicada killer?
Location: Sioux Falls, South Dakota
July 2, 2016 1:02 pm
Started off with one in the wall by my driveway and now there are dozens flying around. It is a duck wall with dirt. They dig into the wall and hang out around the wall during the day”fighting” eachother. What are they? Yellow jackets, hornets, some other singing bug?
Thanks, want to get rid of them if they attack since have small kids who miss riding their bikes in the driveway.
Signature: Jenngi

Cicada Killer Carnage
Cicada Killer Carnage

Dear Jenngi,
Though male Cicada Killer wasps are quite territorial, they are incapable of stinging. They are very specific about preying upon Cicadas. Female Cicada Killer wasps are not aggressive, and we have yet to receive a report from someone being stung by a Cicada Killer.  In our opinion, they do not pose a threat to your children.  This is our first reported Cicada Killer sighting of the year and we are saddened that it is a dead individual.  We would urge you to educate your children about the natural world around them so that they can appreciate and respect the lower beasts.

Thank you for your quick reply. Now we can watch these awesome creatures, have about 15 now, without the fear of multiple settings. It is a relief to hear that these are not aggressive stinging wasps or hornets and will not be creating a nest of thousands so close to our entry into the house and where we play. The kids love and respect all creatures big and small. We strive to live in peace with creatures. Thank you again for the reply.

Thanks for getting back to us Jenngi.  As further clarification, only social wasps like hornets, yellow jackets and paper wasps will defend a nest by stinging.  Solitary wasps like Cicada Killers do not defend the nest.  Though they sometimes nest in colonies where soil conditions and hunting prospects are ideal, Cicada Killers are solitary wasps.  Again, male Cicada Killers will defend territory, especially against other male Cicada Killers, but only females have a stinger which is used to paralyze Cicadas to act as food for the developing young.  Cicada Killers appear in the summer and the larvae that are developing in the subterranean nest will not emerge until the subsequent summer.  Cicada Killers females are capable of stinging, but we believe this will only occur if they are handled.

Subject: Cicada Killer life
July 2, 2016 6:44 pm
How long are cicada killers active? First one appeared about a week ago and now there are about 15-20 in the wall right by my driveway. Are they out  all summer? Also do they kill bumblebees too?
Signature: Jenngi

Cicada Killers do NOT prey on Bumble Bees.  You should expect activity for about four to six weeks, during which time females will hunt Cicadas to provision the nest for the developing young.

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