Big wasps can be scary. We wouldn’t blame you if you were a little worried when you saw a big black wasp with yellow markings. They look a bit like a yellow jacket, which, to be honest, you should be afraid of.

However, the big black wasps with yellow markings are not yellow jackets. Instead, they are a wasp called Sphecius speciosus, or the Eastern cicada killer wasp. You can relax a little knowing this wasp isn’t a yellow jacket. But they can still cause damage — and they can still sting. Want to know more about cicada killer wasps? Here is some information.

What Are Cicada Killer Wasps?

In New Jersey, cicada killer wasps are out in July and August. They are easily spotted because they can be more than 1.5 inches in length. You might also be able to spot the wasps because their wings have orange tints on them. The cicada killer wasp gets its name from the fact that it preys on cicadas and kills them. These wasps are actually beneficial to the planet because cicadas can kill trees. The female wasps paralyze cicadas with their venom and lay their eggs on them. The larvae, then, feed on the cicadas.

Why Cicada Killer Wasps Are a Problem

Where do cicada killer wasps live? In the ground. Which sounds OK, except the problem with them is that they can create holes in your yard. The cicada killer wasp’s nest is a burrow that the female creates, usually in bare soil. You can see the holes in areas under shrubs and by sidewalks. Look for burrows in your yard. The nests are easy to spot. Cicada killer wasp nests are usually in the shape of a U.

Are Cicada Killer Wasps Dangerous to Humans?

It is understandable to fear the cicada killer wasp sting because the wasps themselves are so large. However, cicada killer wasp stings are rare. First, only female cicada killer wasps sting. Second, the wasp will only sting if you bother it. You will be able to hear one when it’s annoyed because it will buzz loudly. You can protect yourself from cicada killer wasp stings by not walking around in your bare feet during the season. However, if you are allergic to bee and wasp stings, you need to be careful. If one does sting you, you might have a reaction.

Can I Get Rid of Cicada Killers?

There are ways you can work to get rid of cicada killer wasps in your yard. First, you need to make it difficult for them to create holes in your yard. You may be able to do that by applying mulch in places where the ground is bare. You can also put landscaping stones on the bare ground. Ground cover is also available that can help prevent cicada killers from making a home in your yard.  

What happens if you have a lot of cicada killer wasps, or you aren’t sure where they are coming from? You may need to try something else. You may want to call a pest control professional to help you keep cicada killers under control. You also want to make sure you’re able to kill the wasps, but not harm vulnerable populations, such as honeybees. Honeybees are a vital part of the population. They are responsible for pollinating trees, shrubs, and flowers.

Not sure about cicada killer wasp prevention, or you want some information on bees and wasps? Contact NJ Pest Control, in Randolph, N.J., in Morris County. We can help you figure out what kind of pest is bugging you and get rid of them for you.