Cicada Killers

Asked July 11, 2018, 9:29 AM EDT

I had a terrible problem last year with cicada killers. Actually, the insects don't bother me too much, but they had nests all over my front yard that made big mounds that killed the grass. I had real trouble getting grass re-established in those areas, and it still doesn't look good. Now I've seen a few of the insects again. What can I do? Last year, I asked our lawn company but they said the nests are too deep underground and he told me they'd be back. I had to kill the insects, but I don't want them living HERE. Do I need an exterminator? Is there some way I can encourage them to move elsewhere? I'm not including an image, but the ones we have are large and have a distinctive red tail. Thanks for your help.

Montgomery County Maryland

3 Responses

Cicada killer wasps are considered beneficial as they keep the cicada population down and should be tolerated if possible. They usually do not bother people even when provoked. There are no easy control solutions. Modify the habitat and make the area unattractive to burrowing.
In lawns thicken your stand of turf by overseeding in the fall. Reduce exposed soil in ornamental beds by planting groundcovers and applying mulch. In new beds pin down landscape fabric with landscape pins and cover with mulch.
For more information on Cicada Killer Wasps see our publication on Mining Bees and Ground Nesting Wasps


Yes, I don't really want to kill the wasps, but, boy did they damage my yard last year. It's my understanding that underground nests are already there leftover from last year. Is that true? I tried major seeding last fall but it was SO dry out, I had to water a lot and not all the spots really took.

Are there more some years than others? (Like cicadas?).


The wasps have emerged from last years burrows and they are making new ones.
Insect populations can very from year to year. Some populations decrease due to wet seasons and or change in habitat.
Hopefully we will have more moisture this year when seeding.