Cicada Killer Control: How to Get Rid of Cicada Killer Wasps (2024)

Cicada Killers, also known as ground digger wasps, are a common wasp species encountered by homeowners, especially those living in the warmer parts of the country. Cicada Killers can be alarming to see at first glance because they look like an over-sized bee flying around in yards or gardens. Due to their size, Cicada Killers are often mistaken for the European Hornet and, most recently in the U.S., the Asian Giant Hornet.

Cicada Killer Wasps are named after their tendency to hunt down and kill Cicadas and Locusts, paralyzing them with their stingers and carrying their bodies down to their underground holes to feast upon.

Though not as aggressive as wasps and hornets, Cicada killers will sting as a last resort out of self-defense if disturbed. Combine their large scary size, their ability to sting, and their habit of digging unsightly holes in yards to nest, this pest can be quite troublesome to deal with.

Our DIY Cicada Killer Wasp treatment guide will show you exactly how to get rid of a Cicada Killer Wasp infestation easily. Follow the steps below carefully and use the recommended products to the side and you will be guaranteed to make drive Cicada Killers out from your yard.


Cicada Killer Control: How to Get Rid of Cicada Killer Wasps (1)

Encountering a Cicada Killer Wasp can be frightening and for good reason--they are huge! Coupled with their menacing appearance, it's easy for any home or property owner to be concerned. But if you're not sure you are seeing a Cicada Killer, here are some things you can look for to help you with identification.

  • Cicada Killer Wasps can grow to as big as 1.5 to 2 inches in length.
  • Cicada Killers have a black body and a bright yellow stripe around the abdomen.
  • They have large brownish-orange wings and large bulging red eyes.
  • Cicada Killers are also known as "Ground Digger Wasps" because of their tendency to live in holes they make in the ground, where they live and nest.
  • Cicada killers feed on plant nectar and not other insects or organic matter.
  • Cicada killers are solitary ground-digger wasps, meaning they nest alone in underground burrows.

Use the description and image above to help you in identifying Cicada Killer Wasps on your property. If you are having trouble, reach out to us and one of our pest control experts will help you to properly ID the pest as well as offer you product recommendations for control.


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After properly identifying cicada killers on your property, you can proceed with inspection. During this step, you are determining where cicada killers are found in your yard and conditions attracting them to your home.

Where To Inspect

Cicada Killers like to hang around in backyards, flower beds and grassy areas, which is why homeowners frequently run into them.

However, the presence of Cicada Killers may not indicate that a nest is in the area. Cicada Killers like to burrow their nests in the ground, especially in sandy soils.

What To Look For

Look for Cicada Killer Wasp themselves or Cicada Killer Wasp nests. It may be helpful to observe their flight tendencies.

If you find one, follow it closely and they may lead you to where their nest is if it is set up in your yard.

Cicada killer nests are tunnels that are dug in the ground. They will appear as a hill of dirt with a 1 to 1.5 inch diameter hole in the middle that they use as their entrance. Once you have identified their nests you're ready for treatment.


If you are up to the job, it’s best to gear up and have protective clothing and gear on to keep you safe from potential harm.

To get rid of Cicada Killers Wasps, figuring out where they are nesting and treat the hole directly with Sylo Insecticide.

Remember to first read all product labels and follow the application instructions on these labels, and stay safe by wearing personal protective equipment.

Step 1 - Direct Nest Treatment With Sylo Insecticide

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Sylo Insecticide is a synthetic pyrethroid insecticide that contains the active ingredient Cypermethrin and serves as a good contact insecticide that will effectively kill Cicada Killers. This chemical is a residual insecticide and should be used if you have located the nest so you can spray directly inside the tunnels. The chemical traces allow the larvae to get killed as well.

You will use a 0.25% emulsion (1.3 fl. oz. per gallon) of Sylo Insecticide in a sprayer with a gallon of water to spot treat the nests you have located, making sure to apply to all of them in one visit. Locating the nest and treating it directly is vital to successfully controlling the Cicada Killers as the product will not work as a spot treatment if you can't find the nest.

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To treat Cicada Killer Wasp burrows, place your sprayer on a pinstream setting and then spray at a low-pressure. Spray a small area of the solution around the entrance of the burrow and then apply the Sylo Insecticide directly into the nest. Cicada burrows can run up to 5 feet in length and 15 inches deep underground, so spray the hole thoroughly.

You should apply the insecticide preferably in the evening time as this is when it is most likely that all the adult Cicada Killer Wasps are inside. Proceed with caution and have on protective long-sleeve clothing as there is a chance Cicada Killers may come out and try to sting you.


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After successfully getting rid of Cicada Killer Wasps from your yard, you want to make sure they don't make a return. Chances are, Cicada Killers may have laid eggs before succumbing to insecticides and soon the eggs will hatch, bringing on a new generation of Cicada Killers creating problems. Also there may be Cicada Killer Wasp pheromones left behind that may draw other Cicada Killers to your property.

Some cultural practices you can implement to reduce Cicada Killer Wasp populations and discourage them from your property is to:

  • Properly maintain your lawn to promote thick, dense turf.
  • Water your lawn deeply with 1 to 1.5 inches of water.
  • Put out mulch of at least 3 inches under shrubbery and in your garden or flowerbeds.
  • You can also try mowing the lawn on a higher setting of 3 to 4 inches as tall vegetation is unappealing to Cicada Killers and will make them less likely to dig a nesting tunnel in your yard.
  • If visible tunnels pop up, apply Sylo Insecticide directly to these tunnels as soon as they are spotted.

Key Takeaways

What are Cicada Killer Wasps?

  • Cicada Killers are a large wasp species that are harmless to humans but can be annoying to have flying around your home and garden.
  • They get their name because of their tendency to target and kill Cicadas for a meal.

How To Get Rid of Cicada Killers

  • Our top recommendation for treating Cicada Killers is to locate the Cicada Killer Wasp nest and apply Sylo Insecticide. Locating the nest and treating it directly is crucial as spot treatments or spraying in general areas where Cicada Killers have been active is not effective.

Preventing Cicada Killer Reinfestation

  • To prevent Cicada Killer Wasps, keep your lawn turfgrass long during the active periods when Cicada Killers arrive in the summer to discourage them from digging tunnels.Water your lawn frequently and mow at a height of 3 to 4 inches to promote well-nourished turf and strong roots that will make it difficult for Cicadas Killers to burrow through.Any tunnels that are formed should be immediately treated with Sylo Insecticide.

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Cicada Killer Control: How to Get Rid of Cicada Killer Wasps (2024)


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