St Louis Pest Control Blog

Cicada Killers – That Is One Big Wasp

Have you ever seen a Cicada Killer wasp before?  You’d remember if you had.  They are the largest wasp, bee or hornet in Missouri.  Although large and intimidating, this wasp is fairly docile and considered to be beneficial.  Cicada Killers prey apon some of the larger insects that with have in St. Louis.  As you can probably tell by it’s name,  their favorite target is the Cicada.

Why do Cicada Killers prey apon Cicadas and other similar sized insects? Because Cicada Killers catch large prey and paralyze them with their stinger in order to have a meal for their young.  After they have successfully paralyzed the insect, they pick it up and fly it or sometimes drag to a burrow that has already been previously dug out.  They then take the paralyzed insect into the borrow and bury it after placing a single egg on it so that when the egg hatches the larva will have meal.


The newly hatch Cicada Killer larva will live under ground until the following year when it will pupate into an adult and start the whole cycle over again.  As an adult, the Cicada Killer will live until early fall and then die.  It is up to the next generation to continue the cycle the following year.

The best way to avoid having a Cicada Killer problem in your yard starts with having a healthly lawn.  Cicada Killers prefer to burrow in areas of bare grass or in patchy areas.  Therefore, a thick and healthly turf will help keep your yard less attractive to this wasp.

If you do get them burrowing into your yard, there are ways to control them.  The easiest way would be to dust each hole with an insecticide.  Delta Dust would be perfect for this job.  It can be used in dry or wet condition and still effectively take care of the problem.  When using Delta Dust, I would recommend using a hand duster as it will allow you to flow the dust easier and more effectively into the burrow.

If you happen to have a large population of Cicada Killers, a professional pest control service is probably warranted.  At Blue Chip, we can treat the area with a misting  backpack sprayer that will spray directly onto the wasps as well as the ground area that they are actively burrowing to help deter new activity. Though unfortunately, there is no way to guarantee that a new batch of Cicada Killers will never come back.

Please call us if you have any questions or concerns regarding these pests at 636-343-7900 or go to for more information regarding our service options.


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