Quick Facts
Size 1” to 2”
Color Black with yellow markings
Body Large, segmented
Legs 6
Antennae Yes
Stinger Yes, females can sting but males do not have stingers


  • Prefer areas of full sunlight
  • Dig tunnels in the ground near where cicadas live


  • Breed rapidly and are solitary
  • Non-aggressive and unlikely to sting
  • Territorial and will defend the nest

Cicada Killer Wasps are solitary wasps that are often mistaken for either European Hornets or very large Yellowjackets. They nest in the ground near cicadas and feed on flower nectar, plant sap, and cicadas. Generally considered non-aggressive, they will still defend their nests although they are unlikely to sting unless handled.


This ground-burrowing wasp can be found in sandy soils in sunny areas as well as sidewalks, driveways, and patios. Cicada Killers are also known to nest in planters, window boxes, flower beds, or under shrubs. The females burrow individual tunnels that are 10-20” deep and ½” wide. Each individual nest chamber contains an egg and 1-3 cicadas for food.

Cicada Killer Habits & Dangers

Cicada Killers are solitary wasps and are not as aggressive as other colonizing wasps. They will defend their nests, but they rarely sting and instead will appear to attack a human in an attempt to investigate whether they have encountered a female to mate with. Additionally, they have a small stinger that feels more like a pinprick.

What To Do If You Think You Have A Killer Cicada Wasp Infestation?

If you see any of these large wasps flying around your yard or building ground nests under your tree, call The Bug Man and Queen Bee. Our friendly office staff will give you an estimate right over the phone and get you scheduled as soon as possible, sometimes the next day! On the day of your appointment, our experts will come to your home and do a full inspection of the affected area and eliminate the nest. As a local and family-owned business, we take great pride in exceeding our Milwaukee-area customers’ expectations. Click here to learn more about our Cicada Killer Wasp Removal services & contact us today for your free estimate!