Thursday, September 24, 2009
The Cicada Killer Wasp is nearly two inches in length and digs holes in lawns, gardens, flower beds and other sunny places. This is a solitary wasp and not like the social wasps such as hornets, yellow jackets and paper wasp. To construct a burrow the female wasp uses her mouth to loosen the soil and then kicks it out into a u-shaped pattern around the entrance. She digs six to ten inches deep and sometimes six inches horizontally. The female uses her sting to paralyze a cicada and then takes it to her burrow. At the end of the burrow are three to four cells, each has one or two cicadas placed in it with one egg. A single burrow can have ten to twenty cells. The female rarely stings humans and the male who is aggressive in defending the nest area has no sting at all. You will see this wasp in late July and they are usually gone by mid August. They took an area in the front corner a few years back and I let them have it, just mowed around it for a few weeks. I didn't know at first what they were and their size is impressive.