Ground Digger Wasps are large, robust insects that can reach up to 1.5 inches in length. They are usually dark brown or black with yellow markings on the abdomen, and have a pair of clear, amber-colored wings. They have a narrow “waist,” or pedicel, between the thorax and abdomen, which is characteristic of many wasp species.
These insects get their common name from their nesting behavior. Female Ground Digger Wasps are solitary and create individual nests in sandy or well-drained soils, often in full sunlight. These nests are characterized by the presence of a mound or turret of loose soil at the entrance.
The Ground Digger Wasp, also known as the Cicada Killer Wasp, is an intriguing insect species found primarily in North America. The Latin name for the Ground Digger Wasp is Sphecius speciosu
Life Cycle and Behavior
Adult Ground Digger Wasps feed on nectar, while their larvae are parasites of cicadas. After mating, the female digs a burrow and goes in search of a cicada. She stings and paralyzes the cicada, then drags it back to the burrow and lays an egg on it. When the larva hatches, it feeds on the cicada.
Ground Digger Wasps are not typically aggressive towards humans unless provoked. The males do not have stingers, and while the females do, they are generally reluctant to sting.
Extermination of Ground Digger Wasps is usually not necessary because they play a beneficial role in controlling cicada populations and are not generally aggressive. However, if their presence is problematic, there are several methods you could employ.
- Physical Barriers: Since these wasps prefer to nest in bare, sandy soil, you can deter them by laying down a thick layer of mulch or ground cover.
- Professional Pest Control: If an infestation is severe, you might need to call a professional wasp control service. They can safely remove the wasps and their nests.
- Insecticides: There are various insecticides available that are designed to kill wasps. However, they should be used as a last resort and applied in the late evening when the wasps are less active.
While female Ground Digger Wasps can sting, they are generally not aggressive and will only do so if provoked. The males, who are often seen flying around the nests, do not have stingers.
The nest of a Ground Digger Wasp is a burrow dug into sandy or well-drained soil, often with a mound or turret of loose soil at the entrance.
Ground Digger Wasps prefer areas of bare, sandy soil in full sunlight. Therefore, maintaining a well-landscaped yard with ample ground cover can deter these wasps from nesting. Alternatively, you can consider laying down a thick layer of mulch in areas where they are prone to nest.