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A week or so ago, I noticed that small mounds of dirt appearing at the edge of the walk to my front porch, and in an area of the garden near my front porch that I had recently mulched. Hmmm..., I wondered, what's going on. Then I noticed a large increase in what I initially thought was bee activity.  Turns out that I had misidentified them as bees rather than wasps, because they were not the kind of wasps that make mud or paper nests (i.e., the kind with painful stings).

First I thought I had ground bees, then some kind of wasp, and then, after I lot of searching on the intertubes, I visually and tentatively matched them up with Cicada Killer Wasps. They made quite a mess of my walkway and garden, and of course, I initially had thoughts about extermination.

Dive under the Golden Cicada Carcass for more Killer Wasp information and pictures.

More investigation indicated that Cicada Killer Wasps have a reputation for difficult extermination. Moreover, the Cicada Killer Wasps are not social wasps, meaning:

1. Only one wasp per hole (but many underground brood chambers)
2. The males have no stinger, only fight with other males and cannot sting.
3. The females have a singer but rarely use it for defense, only for paralyzing prey.  

I snapped this picture of a male on a bush near my sidewalk.

Male (smaller) Cicada Killer Wasp resting on branch of shrub.

The male wasp flies around in search of three things:  1) other males to fight with, 2) females to mate with, and 3) food, i.e., nectar from flowers and other plant exudate. Regarding the male's pugilistic propensities, the method of fight consists of locking the bodies of two or three males together (in flight) and flying off in a rather erratic and uncoordinated flight path until they separate.  No male dies in these squabbles; however, the issue of territory is temporarily resolved, as only one male returns to the area where the fight started. The cease-fire may last only a few minutes.

The next image consists typical nest hole for a Cicada Killer Wasp except for one thing:  In my attempts to dissuade these wasps from lodging near my porch, I've washed away the huge piles of soil the female wasps push up and out of their nest when constructing the tunnels and brood chambers. The following image, taken a few hours after a washout does not show the typical cone shaped pile of soil nor the channel one will see in the cone of soil after the female drags in a hapless (and quite dead) cicada. The hole measures about 5/8 inch in diameter, so the female wasp (much larger than the male wasp) and the cicada are about that size.

Typical Cicada Killer Wasp's nest hole

Up until today, I've been making educated guesses about these wasps because had a good idea that they were Cicada Killer Wasps. Today I decided to drag out the camera and try to get photographic evidence to compare with online information. I got two giant pieces of information to confirm my identification: Color and thorax stripe information on males and females that matches online images at the University of Kentucky Department of Entomology, and I took pictures of a female wasp dragging a dead cicada into the nest hole.

The next image shows the female wasp near the hole entrance with cicada carcass (belly up) in the hole.

Female Cicada Killer Wasp delivering dead cicada to nest hole.

Here is an image of the female wasp doing the hard work of getting the dead cicada and herself into the nest.

Female Cicada Killer Wasp dragging dead cicada into nest hole.

When one thinks of cicadas, one often thinks of the cicadas that emerge every 13 or 17 years on some kind of a multi-year cycle. So I did some additional checking, and I found that there exist annual cicadas and the cicadas that exhibit the multi-year cycle. I think the annual ones are not as noisy as the multi-year ones, so they escape notice.  However, apparently, these Cicada Killing Wasps in my area are finding cicadas even though we are not in a 13 or 17 year brood cycle, so these must be annual cicadas.

From what I have read about Cicada Killer Wasps, the female will insert a male egg into a single dead cicada, or insert a female egg into a single dead cicada with one or more another dead cicada nearby. This begs the question:  How does the female wasp know the sex of the egg? Perhaps it concerns something that only occurs in the bee, wasp and hornet world, where the sex of the species is controlled by the "queen".

The females wasps are much larger and thus will require more food, so they get more cicadas than the male.

The female wasps do all the digging of the nest and all the killing of the cicadas, and they have the task to return the dead cicada to the nest, which I would assume is not easy task, and which lends itself to females being much bigger than the male of the species.

Right now my Cicada Killer Wasp infestation consists of an uneasy truce. I didn't want to kill them, especially because they are not really that annoying (other than being scary to others who don't know the the largest eastern wasp is really quite docile). But the more reading I do about this, I find that this infestation is forming the basis for ongoing infestations in the future. The adults don't winter over, but some form of the animal winters over to form a new generation.  I'm worried that they can spread and attack the lawn. I can tolerate a few wasps, as I can always wash the expelled dirt back into the lawn or down the driveway to the street, but I can't handle hundreds of holes in the lawn, which might occur if they spread. Just as the male has only three tasks, the female, outside the nest, has only two tasks: 1) get cicadas, and 2) find new places for holes to dig.

I've read all kinds of stories about control methods that range from:

1. Kerosene torches to burn them coming out of the holes
2. Swatting them to the ground with tennis or badminton rackets, and stomping them
3. Putting poison down the holes and putting clear plastic on the holes at night then removing in the morning
3. Using diatomaceous earth down the hole (dehydrates the female)
4. Boiling water down the hole at night (cooks the female and the eggs)

Originally posted to Mad 60 on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 08:14 PM PDT.

Also republished by Backyard Science, SciTech, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  So neat! (16+ / 0-)

    I love reading diaries like this! I think it's fascinating to observe bugs in their habitat.

    This also shows that women, whether it is a human being or Cicada killer, are all hard working! :D

  •  Don't kill them (43+ / 0-)

    if you can avoid it - that is the advice of everyone other than bugkiller salespeople.

    Females only sting (as in all wasps) and the sting is very mild. If someone claimd to have had a painful sting from one it is probably not a C. Killer but a European Hornet.

    To get stung you'd have to tread on one barefoot or close your hand on one.

    As for why not to kill them? Circadias do a lot of damage to trees.

    •  I don't think there's danger of a giant (13+ / 0-)

      infestation unless the numbers of cicadas go up, which would happen if you get rid of their predators.

      You can't make this stuff up.

      by David54 on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 09:46:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The odd thing is (5+ / 0-)

        that it seems as if there are 100s when there may only be a couple of dozen because the males are so energetic in patrolling their territory. There is currently an infestation in the empty lot next door to us and it looks scary.

        They like disturbed sandy ground with short, spotty or no grass. they don't go after the long cycle circadias but rather an annual variety (I think) so, if you have them one year you'll likely have them the next.

        The other thing is that the male wasps are only active for a couple of weeks in July around here so it is not a season long problem.

        Not sure on other predator/prey relationships re circadias - birds I'd guess.

        •  Yes, birds. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          stevej, txcatlin, Lujane, mikeconwell

          I've seen them chase cicadas on the wing.

        •  I've seen them swarming (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          over a large grassy median, which is courting/mating behavior.  They are not typically aggressive, though the males can be.  I haven't heard much about them arbitrarily stinging people but I have heard accounts of them dive-bombing at people during courtship.

          I know that they like to nest at the edges of grassy areas.

          They are relatively harmless, though when you see one for the first time, they are intimidating.  They're HUGE.  The pictures don't do them justice.

          Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

          by democracy inaction on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 12:09:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  keep the circadias focused on the drums (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sockpuppet, LinSea, stevej, Lujane

      save the trees, form a samba band :>


      From those who live like leeches on the people's lives, We must take back our land again, America!...Langston Hughes

      by KenBee on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 11:12:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I've always liked cicadas. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Certainly prefer them to the cicada killers.  Used to love to catch cicadas in the shell, watch them crawl out of the shell, see the wings form and then airborne the next day.

      What damage do the cicadas do to trees?

      •  Well... (0+ / 0-)

        I used to have two giant pear trees in my front yard. Then we had an invasion of cicadas. I could actually see sawdust falling from the trees as they did whatever it is they do. The trees were so weakened they had to be taken down after the next winter.

        While many minority groups are the target for discrimination, few face this hostility without the support and acceptance of their family as do many glbt youth.

        by azrefugee on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 11:16:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I Think They Feed On Roots (0+ / 0-)

          They attach themselves to the roots until it's time to crawl up the side of the tree (or any vertical surface), crack out of their shells, then take wing.  I read (when we had an ash tree in our previous yard and hundreds of cicadas) that they feed off the nutrients in the roots and do no harm to the tree.  If you don't have the empty shells stuck to your tree trunks, it's definitely not cicadas.

          On the other hand, sawdust could mean bumblebees.  They devoured all my soffit trim boards, you could hear them munching if the air was still enough.

  •  I have these. Last summer was the (14+ / 0-)

    first time.

    Here, they're called ground wasps. I Googled that term and learned they're cicada wasps.

    The Iowa Department of Entomology taught me some stuff. They claim that the female digs the hole, deposits the fertilized egg, comes back with a paralyzed cicada, and leaves, never to return.

    My next door neighbor freaked out. She and her son are super sensitive to stings and she wanted me to help pay for an exterminator but I refused. Iowa says that those eggs can be two and a half feet underground and won't hatch until next summer.

    Here, we see an eight inch circle of sand, with a half inch hole in the middle but not in the lawn.

    "Success was individual achievement; failure was a social problem." Michael Lewis in The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine

    by hoolia on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 08:38:05 PM PDT

    •  Never to return... (8+ / 0-)

      I've heard that the nests (in one hole) can have perhaps 10 or more brood chambers that will result a possible birth of a new wasp.  I've heard that about 40% of the incubating wasps survive he next year.

      While the female may leave a hole, I think she can start other new holes.  So I don't know how big this can grow.

      I'm willing to adopt a no-kill policy until my grass gets holes and dirt piles.  Then I will exterminate.  Right now I am trying to live with them by washing the dirt poles back down into the garden under the mulch and by washing the dirt on the sidewalk down the driveway and into the gutter.

      Even though I explain in what these wasps are with an abundance of proof, my daughters freak out an my mail person (who is female) also is scared.

      •  Ours were all in our backyard (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sockpuppet, ladybug53, Lujane, hoolia, erratic

        so we didn't have any problems with mail service, but I've heard of other people having postal workers refuse to deliver mail when the wasps get bad.

        They probably won't dig into the grass, they tend to nest in loose dirt areas, not in well sod areas.

      •  safe extermination methods: (13+ / 0-)

        Boiling water may get the ones that are close to the surface, but will cool down as it percolates down through their nest system.

        Try this:  Cement them in with thin mud.  

        Get a few cubic feet of screened soil that has no rock particles larger than grains of sand.  This can be produced by setting up a screen and screening your topsoil into a bucket.

        Get a 5-gallon pail and a paint-mixer attachment for an electric drill, that's long enough to reach the bottom of the pail.  Put 2 gallons of water in the pail.  

        USE A GROUNDED OUTLET or a GFCI when doing this:  add about one gallon of the finely screened soil to the pail, and then mix thoroughly using the electric drill w/ paint mixer attachment.  Add more dirt slowly while mixing, until you have something that's approximately the consistency of thick cream or paint, and has no visible lumps.  

        Stick a funnel in every hole you find, and pour this thin mud into the funnel and down the hole.  This may take using a cup to scoop mud from the pail and pour it down the funnel, while hold the funnel into the hole with one hand.  Keep pouring in the mud until it backs up from the hole.  

        The mud will harden into something like the surrounding soil but more dense and more difficult to remove.  This will ensure that even if you have not filled up the entire burrow network, you'll have cemented the entrance to the point where any wasps that hatch down below shouldn't be able to dig their way out.

        Best part is, it's absolutely eco-safe.  It's just dirt and water.

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 10:36:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I hope I never have them here (6+ / 0-)

          Have you ever tried to screen glacial tilth for rocks? It seems at times that our soil is nothing BUT rocks. It's reasonably fertile, though, even with the rocks, as stinging nettles grow here and I've been told they're a good indicator of fertility.

          But trying to rid glacial tilth of rocks is not my idea of productive activity.

          Organ donors save lives! A donor's kidney gave me my life back on 02/18/11; he lives on in me. Please talk with your family about your wish to donate.

          Why are war casualty counts "American troops" and "others" but never "human beings"?

          by Kitsap River on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 12:06:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Amen, KR! (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ladybug53, Lujane

            We have tried several times to do SOME kind of landscaping here. We even tried a garden. But between the rocks and the weeds it's futile. We now garden indoors and let the alpacas deal with the weeds.

            Thank your stars you're not that way/Turn your back and walk away/Don't even pause and ask them why/Turn around and say 'goodbye'/Just wish them well.....

            by Purple Priestess on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 03:29:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  These Wasps Have Very Acute Vision, Wont Sting (14+ / 0-)

      ..unless you sit on them.  Unlike yellow jackets or paper wasps, both of which will come after you for no reason.

      The other interesting thing about the cicada wasps is that they are so big you can watch them breath as they work their abdomen like an accordion.

      There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

      by bernardpliers on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 11:22:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have used yellow jackets (11+ / 0-)

        in my garden for many years. Their numbers grow or diminish depending on food supply. This is a bad year for garden pests so there are more than usual. My guess is that there are between 50 and 100 yellow jackets that call my garden home.

        I like to hand water my plants at the base with an organic fertilizer tea and occasionally mist the leaves with fish emulsion tea. This type of care is work intensive and I get a close look at each plant every day. To me, the quality of produce is worth the extra effort. Yellow jackets are very often hunting on the same plant that I am grooming. I hardly notice them anymore. They certainly don't stop hunting because of me.

        I have found that poisons damage the plants and harm the flavor of my fruits and vegetables. The yellow jackets make pesticides pointless as they consume aphids and most other insects aggressively. Their numbers are a direct reflection of the food supply (pests) available to them.

        My yellow jackets are very friendly. They know I fill their water bowl and are always happy to see me.

        Yellow jackets will defend themselves against hostile threats. If they are threatened or harmed by one person, they may become aggressive toward other people. I once had to destroy a hive because a plumber had assaulted it. After that, they where very hostile toward me. They would fly straight at my and head butt me in my face. Some even bit me. After a week, I got out the can. The aphids and other pests moved back in immediately. The whole episode made me sick.

        It is not always possible to peacefully co-exist with these creatures. But, given patience and kindness, they are far more effective at pest management than ladybugs, mantis and even poison.

        I like to believe in love as democracy - Salman Rushdie

        by crystalboy on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 09:10:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We take the same approach in our yard. (5+ / 0-)

          We don't intentionally kill anything if it's at all avoidable.  No pesticides or poisons.  I work around paper wasp nests all of the time at home and they are docile for the most part as well.  There was one hot day this summer when the young were ready to hatch where they seemed aggressive, but normally I can work around their nests without problems.  Our yard is full of "pests" that a lot of people go to extremes to kill/get rid of.  Opposums, raccoons, bees, moles, etc.  There is enough poison in the ecosystem without me adding to it so that something as superficial as a decorative yard can be perfect.

          •  I've noticed some (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lirtydies, erratic, joynow, tobendaro

            aggressive posturing from the very young yellow jackets. They get over it very quickly. I'll take a healthy environment over Chem-Lawn any day.

            I like to believe in love as democracy - Salman Rushdie

            by crystalboy on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 10:59:57 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I don't know the difference between the bad (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            and good, defining bad as who will hurt me.
            Some are around as I work on plants and they never sting so I have figured they must not be wasps.
            After reading this I realize they probably are. I didn't know there were wasps that didn't sting.

            I know there are wasps that do! I guess with most past stings I was the 'aggressor'  by daring to pick up the statue or open the storage that they'd built a nest in without telling me.
            Last summer a neighbor pointed out an area next to his house and near my driveway that he said had a nest of very aggressive wasps, though no one had been stung. He talked about the unique way they 'watched' anyone nearby. He'd asked his landlord to deal with it, concerned for his kids.

            Sounded sort of paranoid to me! A couple of neighborhood kids came over as I was working across the driveway from the area. I warned them about the wasps and what I'd been told. The little girl ran away, her brother declared he wanted to see them. As I was warning him away he went and stood near it, arms behind his back, saying he wouldn't touch it or step on the grass. Boys are boys but I still told him it was  a bad idea. Well I am not sure I finished telling him. He was screaming, saying "get them off me".
            I am a BIG chicken scaredy cat but also a mom and got the wasps off him and walked him home to get treated.

            My neighbor was not so paranoid, just correct. I was watching that kid just standing there looking a couple feet back from house edge where wasps lived. (Landlord never acted. Neighbor later told me he got rid of them himself)
            The stung boy and his sister never ventured beyond my front yard.

            That scared me! I quit working anywhere near area, bought some adolph meat tenderizer in case it went wrong (to put on sting, not to cook and eat wasps)

            and realized... I don't know the difference between what wasps are bad like that or good.

            •  If a hive is in a high traffic area, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              it only takes one person to make the hive fearful of people. I think it's best to remove them. They can really get nasty.

              If I find a hive in an inauspicious place, I like to wait until dusk, smoke the nest to calm them, then move them to a better place.

              As far as wasps watching you, it is true. If they are all staring at you and not moving, you should back away. They don't like you. If they are all looking at you and moving their antennas, they're probably friendly. I like to think that's their way of talking.

              I've been casually studying yellow jackets for over fifteen years. I consider them to be very intelligent, friendly an amusing. I know several organic gardeners who agree with me. After all, I didn't find out these things on my own.

              I like to believe in love as democracy - Salman Rushdie

              by crystalboy on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 08:29:05 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  If everyone knew (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            crystalboy, ybruti

            of the cheap methods to rid one of pests the chemical killers would be out of business.  After a year of fighting fleas I put salt around the baseboards and they are gone.

            And she's good at appearing sane, I just want you to know. Winwood/Capaldi

            by tobendaro on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 04:56:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I am compelled to post this song (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          from Of Monsters and Men,

               "Dirty Paws"

           Jumping up and down the floor,
           My head is an animal.
           And once there was an animal,
           It had a son that mowed the lawn.
           The son was an ok guy,
           They had a pet dragonfly.
           The dragonfly it ran away,
           But it came back with a story to say.

          Her dirty paws and furry coat,
           She ran down the forest slope.
           The forest of talking trees,
           They used to sing about the birds and the bees.
           The bees had declared a war,
           The sky wasn't big enough for them all.
           The birds, they got help from below,
           From dirty paws and the creatures of snow.

          And for a while things were cold,
           They were scared down in their holes.
           The forest that once was green
           Was colored black by those killing machines.
           But she and her furry friends
           Took down the queen bee and her men.
           And that's how the story goes,
           The story of the beast with those four dirty paws.

          And she's good at appearing sane, I just want you to know. Winwood/Capaldi

          by tobendaro on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 04:53:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I did know (6+ / 0-)

      someone who got very sick from getting stung by one. Supposedly they do have a mild sting and that was the point the doctor knew he had to pack an EpiPen with him at all times.
      In some circumstances, such as having an allergic child, it's quite understandable why the mother would want to get rid of them. However, I'm not sure it would be possible. When they move into an area they become fairly widespread.

      "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

      by northsylvania on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 12:54:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Kill them (13+ / 0-)

    We had an infestation that started out as just a few then became 50+ of them.  Yes they don't live together like a lot of bugs, but our backyard became their haven.  We were actually fairly content to let them be until we started getting velvet ants, aka cow killers, who eat cicada killers.

    We used a combination of just killing them with a tennis racket, DE and boiling water.  We also pulled up a lot of landscaping in our backyard and put down sod so they couldn't hide their nest anymore under plants, in one summer we went from 50+ to 1 and we haven't seen any more velvet ants.

  •  We have them too. First noticed them last year. (8+ / 0-)

    Since I have a damn-near-debilitating fear of bees, these little jet planes scare the living hell out of me.

    If you say "gullible" real slow, it sounds like "green beans."

    by weatherdude on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 08:45:44 PM PDT

    •  They scare me too (6+ / 0-)

      But they typically don't sting.  Even when we had tons of them, no one was ever stung.  

      Knowing they don't sting doesn't makes them less scary because they are LOUD and big and they certainly seem to like to buzz people.

    •  i posted a comment upthread... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joieau, linkage, weatherdude

      .... header is "safe extermination methods."

      Basically it involves making a thin grout of topsoil and water, with the consistency of cream, and pouring it into the holes, where it will harden and cement them in.   Totally eco-safe.

      "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

      by G2geek on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 10:39:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I reserve the tennis racket (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lirtydies, tobendaro, weatherdude

        approach for carpenter bees - who are literally eating the old chestnut siding on my house. Call it "Bee-Bopping," and it's a regular springtime sport around here.

        Best control method I've discovered for pesky ground-dwellers are ducks. Got a couple of white Pekins for grandkids at Easter, they're almost full grown now and hell on ground dwelling insects (of all varieties) and worms, slugs, snails, etc. Also get free duck food from tree frogs that hatch into tadpoles in their pond. They actually LIKE the wasps - spicy, I guess.

    •  Something you and I have in common (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      northerntier, weatherdude

      As far as I know I'm not allergic to stings but for as long as I can remember I have lived in absolute terror of getting stung by whatever has the ability to sting.

    •  Finally - a comment for the rest of us. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I share the bee fear - have a bit of an allergy. And I'm none too comfortable with indoor spiders, especially if they're at all hefty. Have had to kill a few spiders ( which i hate to do, but have also had some reactions to the odd spider bite.)  In fact, while killing a spider i have found myself producing a sort of banshee scream which must come from some part of the limbic brain telling me to terrify the poor thing so it's more easily dispatched... So, back to topic at hand, have these little thingies come to northern New England yet? I just know they're here...Got a kick out of your "little jet planes". Tend to use the old B-52 comparison myself.

  •  I don't think the Cicada was dead when dragged (20+ / 0-)

    into the hole.  The wasp paralyzes the Cicada, does not kill it, because it is a longer-lasting source of food for the wasp larvae if kept alive.  Sort of insect refrigeration.

    Of course it eventually dies as it is consumed.

    Because stupid people are so sure they're smart, they often act smart, and sometimes even smart people are too stupid to recognize that the stupid people acting smart really ARE stupid.

    by ZedMont on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 08:46:01 PM PDT

  •  very nice photo's (5+ / 0-)

    I've been trying to get my simple camera to take macro pics but not having much luck.
    well, not that simple
    Kodak easyshare z5010

    •  You've got a better camera than mine (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KenBee, ladybug53, TXdem

      You have 21X (not sure if that's all optical and I don't know about macro)

      I have 10X, macro, and auto stabilization.

      Plus a lot of this was my bravery after learning that I probably wasn't going to get stung and that if I did, it probably wouldn't be severe.  

      So I got a lot closer than I would have with social wasps.

  •  Why kill em? Probably form an important part (7+ / 0-)

    of the local life steam. Are they hurting anything? I don't kill anything anymore unless necessary...

    How can you tell when Rmoney is lying? His lips are moving. Fear is the Mind Killer

    by boophus on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 08:53:14 PM PDT

  •  B52 wasps! (5+ / 0-)

    We had one of these one year in Texas. The nest was in the garden, where it got watered regularly. I don't know what happened to it; we moved the next spring, and the guy who bought the house redid that whole area.
    I wasn't about to argue with it when it was sitting on a tomato leaf when I was trying to pick tomatoes.

    (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

    by PJEvans on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 08:53:55 PM PDT

  •  Great diary. I've got them here in N. Texas. (8+ / 0-)

    One morning while I was pulling grass, I had one buzz just past my ear from behind with a cicada in its grasp. I was impressed. There's a lot this year.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 09:42:43 PM PDT

  •  I've Seen These Wasps Fly Carrying Cicadas (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53, txcatlin, TXdem, lirtydies, fisheye

    They struggle with all the weight and fly pretty slow with their wings going RRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

    I also once heard a cicada screeching in a tree then it came hurtling to the pavement being attacked by a wasp.  The wasp could not lift the cicada, but then opened it up with its jaws (CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUNCH) and eviscerated it, hauling away its guts in about 3 trips.

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 11:17:02 PM PDT

  •  First year in this house, we had a big wasp nest (3+ / 0-)

    It was out in the front pasture. Big mound of a nest above ground, looked just like a larger version of a wasp nest that we might see on the house eaves. Given where it was, it could have been built in the branches of our big red alder in the middle of the pasture. Wasps were certainly still using it. Bob got a can of wasp spray, waited until night, and bravely went down to spray the nest with all the wasps in it. I say "bravely" because one reason we had to get rid of the nest was Bob's allergic reaction to bee stings and, we thought it best to assume, wasp stings.

    Anyway, end of nest. End of problem.

    Organ donors save lives! A donor's kidney gave me my life back on 02/18/11; he lives on in me. Please talk with your family about your wish to donate.

    Why are war casualty counts "American troops" and "others" but never "human beings"?

    by Kitsap River on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 12:20:45 AM PDT

    •  God/dess bless the person (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JTinDC, Joieau, lirtydies

      who invented those jet stream wasp killing sprays! One got in the house last weekend and instead of chasing it, we waited for it to light in the window and zapped it. I'm sorry but if the Goddess had planned for that wasp to live a long and healthy waspy life, She wouldn't have let it come into MY house!

      Thank your stars you're not that way/Turn your back and walk away/Don't even pause and ask them why/Turn around and say 'goodbye'/Just wish them well.....

      by Purple Priestess on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 03:35:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There are certain types of (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Purple Priestess

        critter that I figure it's my Karmic Duty to 'liberate' from being in that form. I have convinced myself they almost always reincarnate as puppies or kittens...

      •  wasps (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Purple Priestess

        we get paper wasps, frequently. I try not to kill them, ones that get inside we try to herd outside with water guns (they don't like to fly in the rain). Ones outside I leave alone unless they build too close to the door or on the door jam... or under the ramp. I had a bad nest under the ramp once that then swarmed up while we were taking the wheelchair down, very dangerous, so I check now, and spray there when I see them starting. I also spray them if they are building under the living room AC window unit, because that's right next to the ramp.

        "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

        by FloridaSNMOM on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 08:01:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Jains try to avoid killing anything, even insects. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burnt out, kayak58

    WWJD? What would Jains do?

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

    by lotlizard on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 02:26:29 AM PDT

  •  Don't kill what you don't plan to eat. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Willard's forte = "catch 'n' cage"

    People to Wall Street, "let our money go."

    by hannah on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 02:39:01 AM PDT

  •  We get those too (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Need a baseball bat to kill them LOL.

    -9.00, -5.85
    If only stupidity were painful...

    by Wintermute on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 02:54:27 AM PDT

  •  Thank goodness we don't get them! (3+ / 0-)

    I live quite near to Kitsap River and I think we are both very happy we don't have those things.

    I am afraid of winged flying stingy things. When I was a very small child I lived in Southern Louisiana. We had a nest of paper wasps that had decided that our back stoop was Paradise. My Popeye would knock their nest down and they'd rebuild it again and again and again. The damned things would even chew through the screen door to come inside! I was terrified of them and got stung several times. I'm not allergic but somewhere back in the deep recesses of my brain, that 2-year old child remembers that pain and I've gone out of my way to avoid them.

    Here's an interesting tidbit: If you make a fake wasp nest and hang it up, the real wasps will steer clear. Being very territorial, they won't move in too close to a neighboring nest. Just make one out of paper mache' - they aren't art critics ;)

    Thank your stars you're not that way/Turn your back and walk away/Don't even pause and ask them why/Turn around and say 'goodbye'/Just wish them well.....

    by Purple Priestess on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 03:41:11 AM PDT

  •  Nicely researched diary (8+ / 0-)

    About the sex of the egg thing.  All ants, bees, and wasps have what is called haplodiploidy as mechanism for determining sex (as opposed to the chromosomal system found in mammals).  Males hatch out of unfertilized eggs and females hatch from fertilized eggs.  

    "We are normal and we want our freedom" - Bonzos

    by matching mole on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 03:51:40 AM PDT

    •  Haplodiploidy: You beat me to it. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TexMex, matching mole, lirtydies

      Haplodiploidy rocks. It means that a male wasp does not have a father, and will have no sons; but he does have a grandfather and two grandmothers, and if he gets lucky, might have grandsons.

      Osmia lignaria (mason bee) females lay their eggs in long, narrow shafts (e.g. reeds, or straws, or holes we drill for them), and the female lays fertilized eggs at the back, unfertilized at the front; then, at hatch time, the males emerge first and wait for the females.

      I don't know the mechanism for the female's ability to "choose" fertilize or not fertilize.


      "There is just one way to save yourself, and that's to get together and work and fight for everybody." ---Woody Guthrie (quoted by Jim Hightower in The Progressive Populist April 1, 2012, p3)

      by CitizenJoe on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 06:38:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Social species for sure have the ability to store (0+ / 0-)

        sperm for long periods (queens are producing workers years after they mate) and probably (although I have no direct knowledge of this) solitary species can store sperm as well.  In which case females could simply release sperm or not to choose the sex of offspring.

        "We are normal and we want our freedom" - Bonzos

        by matching mole on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 09:10:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Don't let them infest (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53, Carol in San Antonio

    we are on the 7th year of our battle and yes they will rip your lawn to pieces.  One thing we learned is if you can really get your lawn established before they hatch, that can help.  I will try some of the methods you mentioned, the DE and boiling water sound interesting.  We have been going the tennis racket route which helps but is pretty time consuming.

  •  I dunno. I'm running short of pollinators of the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gzodik, crystalboy

    bee variety, and if the males are zipping around gathering food, they're probably pollinating as well.  I think I could put up with holed (aerated, too) ground for the same of fruits and vegetables.

  •  Had a similar problem (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Carol in San Antonio, lirtydies

    I noticed some funny-looking wasps were going in holes in the ground underneath a tree in my front yard, next to the walkway.  Having been stung more than several times over the years, I couldn't let that continue while at the same time listening to my son plead not to kill them.

    So, I got some moth balls and spread them around the openings.  After a couple of days, there was no more activity around the holes.  The next rain took care of the mothball smell.  Side note:  I sometimes walk barefoot in my backyard.  That's over!

  •  Heard the first cicadas yesterday, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    badscience, ladybug53

    which is early for southern Wisconsin. We're in a drought and I wonder if that's why they're early.

    I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night, alive as you and me.

    by plankbob on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 04:51:00 AM PDT

  •  So that's what they are! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53, burnt out, TXdem

    I've seen them around for years but had no idea what they were.  As long as they didn't bother me, I didn't bother them.  :-)  They are fearsome looking, though.

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 04:54:19 AM PDT

  •  They don't live here (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53, Carol in San Antonio

    so I don't know what I would do if one took up residence in my yard.

    We do have lots of solitary bees and bumble bees in the yard; I suppose they sting under provocation, but they are cute and cicada killers look scary.

    Can you create an inhospitable environment rather than killing them? I can understand you don't want a colony, but maybe work to make your yard a place in which they don't want to set up shop?

    We do get rid of yellow jacket nests and hornet nests that are near the house and will likely get disturbed, causing the insects to swarm angrily. If they are out-of-the-way, we don't bother. They aren't pest insects (like the Japanese beetles and squash borer moths that we are currently fighting).

  •  I have a problem with these as well (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Carol in San Antonio, hoolia

    We have a 60 x 80 foot sand paddock area for our horses. These wasps love the sand and started burrowing into it.
    The infestation became bad after a couple of years. So bad that our horses stopped using it to roll in. We called in a Bee specialist. He used a powdered poison "dusted" into each individual hole. It gets on them, sticks to them and kills them. After the initial treatment from the professional I have been doing it myself with a powdered ant poison and one of those bulbs for ear wax. It's time consuming. This doesn't get rid of all of them but keeps it way down compared to no treatment at all. You have to keep track of the new holes in the morning. I can see the new digging spots and get after them best early in the morning. By early I mean just before sunrise. The fresh dug up sand looks darker and there is a track left by the work. The powdered kind of ant poison is hard to find. Most of them now are granules. You can still find the powder if you look around. I have read that a good thick grass cover will discourage them from using your lawn to dig in. That is not an option for me. Good luck.

  •  I would have a hard time.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burnt out, crystalboy, lirtydies

    Justifying killing them in my yard.

    I'm in an area that also has cicadas every summer (although i haven't yet heard any chattering yet this year).

    Cicada killer wasps are beautiful, huge.  But really quite interesting to watch.

    I had a few pop up at the front yard some years ago.  I repeatedly hosed the holes down or filled them.... And did this solely because I didn't want visitors or the mail delivery person freak out.  Eventually, the wasp, discouraged, left the area.  It was right along side of the zoysia sod and up against the concrete curb.

    I defintiely didn't have many... And right now, even though I have an entire back area cleared out ready for the picking for such insects, don't see any popping up either.

    But then again, my whole front yard is filled with various pollinators, bees, wasps and butterflies.  I plant specifically to attract them. And at this moment, the yard is swarming with them.  Lots of things in bloom all at once.  Don't know if this constant activity also discourages the cicada wasps from setting up house?

    All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

    by kishik on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 05:21:56 AM PDT

  •  We have these too! Outside our apartment (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'll admit, they are absolutely terrifying to look at: huge, ugly, and loud.  But honestly, they have never ever threatened us at all, they're actually pretty friendly.  As the diarist noted above, they are quite docile, they always get out of our way when we are walking by.  Sometimes they will come over to check us out but then they will fly away.  Kind of reminds me of bumble bees in that way.  In the end, we're quite happy to share the back entrance of our apartment complex with them (especially since they only really seem to be around for a month or so every summer).

    "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it... unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." -The Buddha

    by Brian A on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 05:28:52 AM PDT

  •  I've seen these in VA too sometimes (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Carol in San Antonio, TXdem

    They seem to be most active in late summer, which makes sense since that's the time the annual cicada (Tibicen canicularis to the nerds out there) begins its mating calls.  You probably have heard their call, although it's WAY more subdued than the much louder call of the periodic cicada.  While the periodic has a call that can be literally deafening if you're too close, the annual has a call that, from a distance, sounds somewhat like a very large electrical transformer being turned on (a kind of tinny buzz).

    The wasps can explode rapidly in population when the periodic cicadas emerge, but aside from looking scary don't seem to be terribly excitable.  The main danger where I live is that they are similar in size to the introduced European Hornet (vespa crabro), which is extremely aggressive and painful from what I'm told.

    All your vote are belong to us.

    by Harkov311 on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 05:34:04 AM PDT

  •  I for one welcome our insect overlords (7+ / 0-)

    One thing is for certain: there is no stopping them; the wasps will soon be here. I’d like to remind them that as a trusted TV personality, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves.

    Romney 2012 - When in doubt, lie. (Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #266)

    by Fordmandalay on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 05:54:06 AM PDT

  •  i had these (3+ / 0-)

    at an old house i lived in. They will decimate your lawn if you don't take steps to keep them in check. One neighbors lawn actually dropped a couple of inches.

    Our preferred method of control was swatting them with tennis rackets. We never got of them that way, but we kept their numbers down.

    Once we got over the fact that they were giant, it was a lot easier to get out there and whack them. One of them was so giant the strings on my old badminton racket broke. Yeesh.

    One great big festering neon distraction, I've a suggestion to keep you all occupied.

    by Orman West on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 05:55:10 AM PDT

  •  Great diary Mad 60. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    enhydra lutris, lirtydies

    You  are to be commended for not automatically reaching
    for the nearest can of bug spray. Thanks for doing some research and for sharing what you've learned and for trying to find a way  to live with your new neighbors.

    And thanks to bwren for republishing to BYS.

    Just give me some truth. John Lennon--- OWS------Too Big To Fail

    by burnt out on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 05:56:32 AM PDT

  •  suggestion: taller grass (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    i would try to cut my grass as tall as both the grass and you are comfortable with. I'm guessing this would make it slightly less hospitable for them.

    Also, I would avoid pouring hot water on the lawn because the grass will die. I think the hot water technique is only useful on areas without vegetation, such as mulched paths.

  •  I'm originally from Houston, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TXdem, lirtydies

    where we have both cicadas and cicada killer wasps.  We generally have a lot more red mud daubers ("Big Reds") than cicada killers, and I've never seen a cicada killer get inside a house on its own, any anyone to get stung by a cicada killer (The Big Reds, on the other hand, do both a lot.  Their stings also hurt a lot - much like a bee sting, without the added indignity of a stinger lodged in your flesh).  Not sure whether fewer incidents is because of different behaviors, or just number of each type of wasp.

    We never had any explosion in the cicada killer population, so I'm not sure what's going on there - maybe less competition, or fewer things that eat them.

  •  Try to live with solitary wasps. (5+ / 0-)

    Social wasps I can understand removing, especially near the home & especially yellowjackets, but cicada killers, like almost all solitary wasps, are nonaggressive.  

    I would probably still remove yellowjackets near my doors & windows, but I've learned to coexist with them too.  Gardening has taught me that when not near a nest, they are totally cool flying around me to hunt, & I'm pretty happy to see them taking caterpillars off my crops.

    Before elections have their consequences, Activism has consequences for elections.

    by Leftcandid on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 06:08:54 AM PDT

  •  Watch a Wasp Take Down a Cicada (6+ / 0-)

    Cool diary. I had never heard of this wasp until reading this.

    "The problem with posting quotes off the Internet is you never know if they're genuine."--Gen. George Washington at the Battle of Gettysburg, February 30, 1908

    by Aspe4 on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 06:09:33 AM PDT

  •  Predators of cicadas--- (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terrypinder, Hohenzollern, TXdem

    include dogs. At least, our Rottie eats 'em. We were RVing in Indiana during the huge cicada boom some years ago, and she ate cicadas with gusto; she preferred the softies which had just emerged, but crunchies were delightful, too.

    The weirdest thing was, the eyes of the cicadas were not so digestible, so her poop was decorated for days with tiny red eyes sparkling in the sun.  Quite festive, actually.

    Other predators include us humans. One fellow in Indiana sauteed a skillet's worth and found them delicious. Unfortunately, he had a shellfish allergy, cross-reacted, and suffered severe anaphylaxis. Poor bugger.

    Thank you for the excellent diary.


    "There is just one way to save yourself, and that's to get together and work and fight for everybody." ---Woody Guthrie (quoted by Jim Hightower in The Progressive Populist April 1, 2012, p3)

    by CitizenJoe on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 06:49:41 AM PDT

    •  Cats love 'em, too. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      One of the funniest things is a cat bringing you a live, LOUDLY buzzing cicada in its mouth, and so proud of the feat.  Unfortunately, the cat probably can't hear you ask it to drop the cicada, since the buzzing is 80 + decibels!

      Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

      by tom 47 on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 08:59:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Cicadas Revolt! (0+ / 0-)

    The wasps are finding the larvae of the cicadas! They may be one year cicada larvae which may not be so bad because the brood of cicadas replenishes itself rather frequently. But they are killing and incubating the 13 to 17 year variety, we got trouble!  Those poor little suckers are GRUBS for most of their 13 to 17 years before they grow wings and fly for a month or so, have sex, mate and die!  It is just piling on more tragedy to the cicada story if they have some nasty wasp predators to contend with as well it just adds to the tragedy! .... I trust Nature has it in balance though! And niether the wasps or the cicadas percieve the tragedy any ways!

  •  I don't kill wasps anymore. (0+ / 0-)

    They (the females anyway) are generally carnivores. I've seen them going after aphids, mites, caterpillars, spitbugs and houseflies.

    Of course, if you're dangerously sensitive to their stings, then ...

    When I was a boy in Texas, I was told that a wasp can't sting you if you are holding your breath. I tested it by grabbing wasps by their wings out of the watering trough and dragging them around on my forearm.  I never got stung. I doubt that holding my breath had anything to do with it, tho,

    GOP: Bankers, billionaires, suckers, and dupes.

    by gzodik on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 07:26:52 AM PDT

  •  The cicada better hope it's dead. Remember (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the fate of those captured by the aliens in the "Alien" movies? There was also a gruesome story I read where a man ends up paralyzed while the grubs of an alien critter munch on him "for many and many a month".

  •  Free soil aeration, and perhaps nature's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burnt out

    way of saying that lawns, as we know them, aren't the way to go. ;-)

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 08:07:06 AM PDT

  •  I haven't seen these wasps.. (5+ / 0-)

    but apparently we have a lot of cicadas. They make a considerable racket at times. They all seem to kick in at once, so I'm guessing some environmental factor triggers them.

    Here's a bunch of shed skins on a tree.

    Image Hosted by

    This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

    by Karl Rover on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 08:38:49 AM PDT

  •  Here's one I caught (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jbob, badscience, TXdem, lirtydies, joynow

    dragging a cicada up a tree to glide down to her nest.

    ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

    by Kristina40 on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 09:21:10 AM PDT

  •  omg that's all i need to hear (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    i have such a bee phobia and I think I saw something that looked a lot like this flying around in church (!) yesterday

    "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."
    Mitt Romney is not the solution. He's the PROBLEM

    by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 09:33:56 AM PDT

  •  That's not a dead cicada going down the hole - (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TXdem, lirtydies

    It's only been paralyzed. It remains living food for the wasps larvae.

    "After digging a nest chamber in the burrow, female cicada killers capture cicadas, paralyzing them with a sting. ...After putting one or more cicadas in her nest cell, the female deposits an egg on a cicada and closes the cell with dirt. ...The egg hatches in one or two days, and the cicadas serve as food for the grub."

    "I'm grateful for my job - truly, but still...ugh." CityLightsLover

    by Audri on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 10:16:32 AM PDT

  •  My husband owns a pest control company and (0+ / 0-)

    the cicada killers are the most called about issue this time of year. They are pretty much harmless -- non-aggressive and don't sting unless you grab one, sit on it, etc. Still, people freak out about them. Dusting the holes with pesticide, as someone mentioned above, is the way our techs do it. But you have to find all the holes, which can be difficult, so there are always callbacks.

  •  Interesting and informative diary, thank you (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pinto Pony, joynow

    We've been getting weird mounds of dirt in our yard lately; thought it was an invasion of some new type of rodent or something. Now that I've looked up pics of the nests these cicada killer wasps make, I realize this is exactly what we have in our yard too. Never seen them before this year and we've been in this house 8 years now.

    I've also seen a number of those 'velvet ants' (another wasp!) around lately, so it's good to know the connection and what these are too, and to carefully avoid them! Thanks for sharing this info, very helpful.

  •  Fascinating (0+ / 0-)

    I don't think I've ever seen these particular wasps. I don't really have any problem with wasps and have lived with social ones for years. They left me alone and I left them alone, it worked out fine.
    When I was a kid we lived in an area where there were lots of Cow Killers. I don't remember anyone ever getting stung. As long as you don't go barefoot outside everything should be fine. They are large and showy and slow.

    While many minority groups are the target for discrimination, few face this hostility without the support and acceptance of their family as do many glbt youth.

    by azrefugee on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 11:27:54 AM PDT

  •  If your only worry (0+ / 0-)

    is that they will attack your lawn, you needn't worry.  Cicada killers typically look for places at the edge of a grassy area to dig their holes.  We've had them on and off for years and I have two pertinent observations:

    1 - The nests are one-cycle nests, they do not reuse nests.

    2 - In the past, we've has more than one take up residence in our yard but having one or more of them nest in your yard one year doesn't mean that they will continue to do so in subsequent years.  Again, they do not "return to the nest" but rather dig a new one somewhere.

    We have them some years, others we don't.  Even if they do nest in your yard regularly, they aren't going to destroy your lawn.  You might notice a dirt mound like a big ant hill in a spot or two in your yard, typically around the edges, but they will be gone next year.  A new one or two might pop up but but as widely varying as their territories can be, killing the ones you have this year is no guarantee that you won't get another one or more next year so killing them is a rather futile exercise.  Also, any chemicals you might use to kill them are going to be worse for your lawn than they are.

    My advice is to live and let live.  They are actually very interesting to watch, you can pretty much stand right next to them when they're digging their holes or bringing back cicadas and they really won't bother you unless you threaten them.  When we have them, we give them names.

    Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

    by democracy inaction on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 12:01:52 PM PDT

  •  Water the lawn (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Encouraging lush turf will help keep them away--as others have mentioned they prefer to dig where it's loose and/or dry. They really are partial to sandy soil.

    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

    by happy camper on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 12:09:53 PM PDT

  •  You know who else has an infestation? (0+ / 0-)

    President Obama.

    I walk by the north lawn of the White House every day to and from work.  I've noticed a dead tree just outside the fence that is absolutely crawling with these things.  Creeps me out.  I asked one of the uniformed Secret Service people, who happened to be standing right net to the tree, why he wasn't bothered.  He just shrugged and said he hasn't been stung yet, so why worry.  Cringe.

    "Give to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself." - Robert G. Ingersoll

    by Apost8 on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 01:33:32 PM PDT

  •  Fascinating. A cicada v big effin wasp battle (0+ / 0-)

    drifted through my car window last summer. Like something from Godzilla meets Mothra. Wild kingdom on the dash board. I was surprised at this new discovery after 40 years here. Neat.

  •  Thank You - Great Read - N/T (0+ / 0-)

    "Upward, not Northward" - Flatland, by EA Abbott

    by linkage on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 02:36:16 PM PDT

  •  Is the wasp a metaphor for Bain capital? (0+ / 0-)

    And the poor cicadas a metaphor for American communities?

    Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore

    by Minerva on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 05:35:35 PM PDT

  •  Want one for my collection! (0+ / 0-)

    Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people who don't vote. William E. Simon

    by TEMkitty on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 07:13:21 PM PDT

  •  this is great! (0+ / 0-)

    I had one of these this year and it was a huge mystery. I didn't want to kill it because I didn't know what it was. The odd thing about it is it was in the same hole by the foundation as one I had several years ago, but this sort of explains that. I pushed the dirt back into the hole a few days ago, and when I returned after the weekend it was dug back out, but the bug is apparently gone now. I was surprised by the amount of dirt this one bug threw out. I always try to co-exist with stuff like that if it doesn't mess with me. This thing would patrol but seemed to disregard me.

    when I see a republican on tv, I always think of Monty Python: "Shut your festering gob you tit! Your type makes me puke!"

    by bunsk on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 09:57:47 PM PDT

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