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Cicada Killer Wasp
(John Obermeyer, Purdue University)
Common Name: Cicada Killer Wasp

Order: Hymenoptera

Family: Sphecidae

Pest Status: Cicada killer wasps appear menacing, but they rarely ever sting people and should be considered a beneficial insect because they kill cicadas.

Appearance: The cicada killer wasp is large (approximately 1 1/2-inches long) with a black body marked with yellow across the thorax and on the first three abdominal segments. The head and thorax are red and the wings are yellow.

Life Cycle: Cicada killer wasps dig burrows in sandy, bare, well-drained soil. They paralyze and drag a cicada into the hole upon which they lay their eggs. After hatching, the larvae feed on the cicada carcass inside the hole. Adult wasps emerge throughout the summer months.

Where to Collect: Cicada killers can be collected near where they nest in the ground.