Thursday, July 24, 2008

Turf and Landscape - Cicada Killers

An insect in lawns that often causes concern by homeowners is the cicada killer. The following is come information.

The red and black wasp with yellow bands digging holes and buzzing around lawns is called a cicada killer wasp. Male cicada killers may fly at individuals because they are very territorial, but they cannot sting since they do not have stingers. Females are difficult to provoke, but they can sting. Female cicada killers spend most of their time digging out nests or hunting for cicadas. The entrance to the nest is about ½ an inch in diameter and the wasp kicks sand out of the nest into a Ushaped mound. Female wasps attack cicadas, carry the paralyzed cicada to her nest, and lay an egg on it. The egg hatches and the larva eats the cicada. There is only one generation a year. Control is usually not required unless the insect is a nuisance or is in an inconvenient location. Products labeled for ground insects will help control the wasp; apply the material to the nesting area and then disrupt the soil surface and respray. As females attempt to repair damage to the tunnels they will contact enough chemical and die. Limit traffic around the nest so the application is not disturbed and the wasps will contact the insecticide.

Cicada killer and cicada. Photo by Ronald F. Billings, Texas Forest Service,

Information by Brian Kunkel, Ornamental IPM Specialist, UD

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