Ag Answers: Killer Cicada Wasps

The Morning Show

Doug Gucker from the U of I extension Office joins the Morning Show and in this week’s Ag Answers he is discussing a giant wasp that is often seen in the summer.

There is a large, impressive looking wasp which is getting some attention among local residents, it is the Cicada Killer Wasp.

It is one of two giant wasps that have been identified here in the USA. The other is the European Hornet.

The female has a large stinger it is used to paralyze cicadas. A female will only use her stinger to defend herself.  They are about 1.5 inches long with black abdomen with 3 distinctive yellow bands and the head and thorax are a rusty to dark brown color with transparent russet colored wings.  

This is a beneficial insect that help to control cicadas that feed on and damage our local deciduous trees. A single female cicada killer will capture over 100 cicadas in a summer.


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