cicada killer wasp outside knoxville home

Have you been seeing wasps you would describe as "giant," buzzing around on your property? Are you finding holes dug in sand or soft soil, and piles littered around your yard? If so, you have a cicada killer wasp problem. The good news is that these wasps aren't particularly dangerous. You're not likely to get stung unless you sit on one, or press one against your skin. But, bear in mind that these wasps have a significant stinger that they use to plunge deep into cicadas. When they plunge it into a human, it is quite painful. So, although they aren't a dangerous pest, it is much better to not have them around. Here are a few reasons these wasps may have selected your property, and some tips to help you avoid getting more "giant" wasps in your yard.

The key attractant for cicada killer wasps is loose ground. If you have areas of sand or dry earth in your yard, these insects will take notice. They will also target exterior, potted plant soil, and excavate that soil out of your pots. They also establish their burrows along walkways where dirt is less dense.


  • If you protect your potted plants or keep them inside, they are less likely to be targeted by cicada killer wasps.

  • Sandboxes or sandy areas can be covered by netting to protect them.

  • Keeping your lawn moist in late summer, and early fall will go a long way toward deterring these wasps.

If you have these 2-inch wasps in your yard, there is a good chance that you have cicadas around your home. Cicada killer wasps hunt cicada, paralyze them, and bring them back to their nests to feed their young.


  • Unfortunately, there isn't a lot that can be done to reduce the cicadas in your area. But the good news is that cicada killer wasps can actually do that for you. Your job is just to make your yard a wasp-free zone.

It is important to understand that adult cicada killer wasps do not eat cicadas. Cicada bugs are consumed by the offspring of cicada killer wasps. The adult wasps only eat the nectar from flowers. Therefore, flowers are as much of an attractant as cicada bugs.


  • Reducing flowers and ornamentals around your home can have an impact on the number of cicadas that come into your yard and establish their nests on your property.

The Problem Of Cicada Killer Wasps

Often, these wasps do not have to be controlled. They are not normally a threat, and when they appear in small numbers, they do not create too many issues. It is only when a large number of wasps move in that they become a serious pest problem. A single female wasp can displace as much as 100 cubic inches of dirt. This can add up to a lot of lawn damage if left untreated.

If cicada killer wasps are becoming a problem for you and you're in our Tennessee service area, reach out to Russell's Pest Control. Our team of educated pest control professionals is trained in the most advanced pest protocols available in the industry. Through a process of inspection, treatments, and monitoring, we can help to reduce the wasps establishing burrows on your property.

We can also assist you with over 30 common pests that can become a problem in your yard and in your home through ongoing, year-round pest service. Choose Power, Power Gold, Power Plus+, or Power Platinum to get the perfect fit for your pest control needs. Schedule your free in-home pest evaluation today.

While cicada killer wasps aren't necessarily dangerous, they can cause many issues when they come into your yard. But, with ongoing pest service, you can reduce those issues and make your yard a whole lot nicer place to be, all year long.


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