Are Cicada Killers In Miami Dangerous?

July 8, 2020

Some pests are good for the environment but bad for your property. Cicada killer wasps, often referred to as “cicada killers” or “cicada hawks,” are just such pests. While they help manage populations of cicadas that tear through crops and gardens, cicada killers are still stinging wasps and can pose problems when their populations spread. Knowing how to spot and prevent them is important for responsible homeowners.

a cicadia killer wasp pollinating flowers

What Are Cicada Killers?

Cicada killers are a variety of digging wasps that burrow into light soils in order to nest and feed their grubs. Cicada killers in Miami specifically hunt cicadas, which are large, winged insects that nest in trees and other easy harborage points. As such, cicada killer wasps are usually not far from crops and vegetation that cicadas like to eat. These killers wait for cicadas to land on nearby foliage and then sting them with a paralyzing venom so that they can be carried down into their burrows for feeding. Cicada killers have the following characteristics:

  • Color: Cicada killers look a lot like yellow jackets, though with darker brown coloration that contrasts the bright yellow spots. Their wings are similarly brown in color.

  • Wings: Like all wasps, cicada killers have a pair of flight-capable wings. Not only are they fast, but their wings are strong enough so that they can carry much larger insects over great distances back to their nests.

  • Size: Cicada killers can grow quite large, sometimes to two inches in length. Despite their impressive size, they are often smaller than the cicadas that they hunt.

Benefits & Harms

Pests that eat other pests can be a bitter-sweet occurrence. While the thinning out of crop-destroying bugs is helpful, there are drawbacks to having stinging hunters on your property.


  • Crop defenders: Cicada killers hunt the bugs that can cause crop destruction and blight.

  • Pollinators: While cicada killer wasp larvae eat cicadas, adults feed on nectar and pollen found in plants. That means that they can assist in the growth and spread of flowers and crops.

  • Solitary: Since cicadas are only active for a few months out of the year, these killer wasps tend to stick below ground and keep to themselves, especially when there aren’t any bugs above ground to hunt.


  • Holes: Cicada killer wasps can dig holes several inches wide and deep, which results in an eyesore if it’s in the middle of your lawn or flowerbeds. These holes can also be dangerous if someone accidentally steps in one.
  • Stings: While cicada killer wasps are often seen as solitary, gentle giants, they can and will sting people or pets if provoked or threatened. Digging animals especially can upset their nests, resulting in painful payback.
  • Intimidating: Regardless of how beneficial they may be for farmers, most people are put off by the sight of massive, flying bugs. Keeping them off your property can help make sure your barbecues don’t become unpleasant for guests.

Cicada Killer Prevention

Now that we’ve covered what they are and what they mean for your property, you’re probably curious about what you can do to keep cicada killers off your property. All of the following are good steps:

  • Landscaping: While cicada killers themselves hang out underground, their prey waits around in the foliage of bushes and trees. Keeping these harborage points trimmed back will make your property less attractive to these pests, and thus drive off the wasp’s food source.
  • Regular watering: Cicada killers prefer dry, open soil that will get baked in the warm sun. Frequent watering will not only moisten the soil, but it will encourage healthy top growth of grasses, which makes it harder for wasps to burrow.
  • Professional help: With stinging insects, it’s often best to leave the prevention and control to the pros who know how to do so safely.

Amco Pest Has All The Right Solutions

Cicada killers are multi-faceted insects that can be good or bad, depending on how many of them there are and where they are congregating. Regardless of the benefits, most people don’t have the safety measures or proven solutions on-hand to deal with stinging bugs on their own. Amco Pest Solutions has trained experts who can remove cicada killers from your property quickly and safely.

For more tips and assistance, or to get started on cicada killer treatments today, contact Amco right away.

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