How Dangerous Are The Cicada Killers In New Jersey?

July 5, 2021


And you thought regular wasps were bad. Take one look at a cicada killer and you’ll probably feel your bones quiver at the sight of these massive, scary bugs. These pests have been described as yellowjackets on steroids, and it’s plain to see why. But just how dangerous are the cicada killers in New Jersey?

cicada killer on flowers

What Are Cicada Killers?

Cicada killers, aka cicada hawks, are an especially large species of digger wasp found primarily in the eastern United States. These wasps are all about size, measuring up to a whopping three inches in length. They typically have a reddish-brown color with yellow patterning. Their massive size allows them to wrangle (you guessed it) cicadas, which they use to feed their larvae. When spotted in the wild, many cicada killers are seen carrying cicadas.

Unlike your typical hornets and yellowjackets, cicada killers are solitary wasps. In fact, the vast majority of wasp species in the world are solitary hunters like cicada killers. Rather than constructing the papery nests often associated with wasps, cicada killers dig burrows in lawns, gardens, or wherever large populations of cicadas may be. 

Are Cicada Killers Dangerous?

Despite their freakishly large bodies, cicada killers aren’t especially dangerous to humans. Compared to other stinging insects, cicada killers are actually some of the least hazardous stinging pests. While males of the species may aggressively defend their territory, they lack a stinger to actually inflict any harm. Only female cicada killers are equipped with stingers, which they only use if provoked or improperly handled. 

Cicada killers are far more interested in hunting their quarry than attacking people, and they do play a role in controlling the population of annoying cicadas. The only danger that cicada hunters pose is potential damage to your lawn from digging their solitary nests. 

How To Prevent Cicada Killers

Nobody wants a bunch of three-inch wasps flying around their property like miniature fighter jets. While they might not be as bad as other stinging insects, it’s best to try and keep cicada killers from infesting your property. Luckily, there are few things you can do to prevent cicada killers on your New Jersey property:

  • Take care of your lawn. Cicada killers rarely infest well-kept lawns with dense grass. Invest in some serious lawn care to reduce dry patches and bare dirt that cicada killers can excavate for their nests. Seed, aerate, fertilize, and water your lawn regularly. Growing long grass in the later summer months is also recommended.

  • Overwater. If a luxurious lawn isn’t in the cards for your property, you can try overwatering the soil on your property to prevent cicada killers from nesting. Cicada killers prefer dry soil over muddy soil to build their nests and simply turning on the hose or sprinkler can help deter them from nesting.

  • Mind food and beverages. Like many wasps, cicada killers like a sweet treat now and then. Try not to leave sugary beverages like juice, soda, and beer unattended when outdoors to spare yourself the trauma of witnessing a three-inch wasp crawl out of your drink. 

Cicada killers are relatively harmless pests, but they can cause serious scares for those with flying insect phobias. So, if you’ve got a cicada killer problem on your New Jersey property, call the pros at Amco Pest Solutions. We can provide you with the advice or assistance you need to get rid of these big bad wasps once and for all. For cicada killers and your stinging insect control needs in New Jersey, get in touch with us today. 




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