Female cicada killers, also called giant cicada killers or sandhornets, use their stingers to paralyze cicadas, noisy insectsthat live in nearby trees. The best control is prevention. Because cicada killers nest inopen areas without vegetation, healthy turf won’t be attacked.The best way to prevent having cicada killers around is tocultivate a lush healthy lawn without bare patches. Although virtually harmless, cicada killers can invade your homelandscape and make a mess with their horseshoe dens. If controlis necessary, locate the nests during the daylight hours andtreat after dark when female wasps are in their nests. Rememberto wear protective clothing. People who have caught female cicada killer wasps claim the stingis less painful than that of a wasp or bee, she added. Lone flyers Measuring almost two inches long, sporting yellow markings acrossa robust body and patrolling the ground with red wings and yellowlegs, cicada killer wasps look intimidating. Although they lookfierce and threatening, they’re more buzz than bite. Before deciding to do away with the insects, Hinkle urges you toremember, “as is apparent from their name, they are predators oncicadas, so they provide good biological control of these pestsof ornamental trees and shrubs.” “So, remember, the more aggressive cicada killers are males,which are all show and no substance. They hope to be able toscare you away by bluffing, but when it comes down to it, there’snothing they can do to you – or any other predator,” she said.”The females are otherwise occupied and can’t be distracted, sopose no threat. Because they are so innocuous – and so beneficial- it is best to leave them alone and just enjoy their beauty andfascinating behaviors.” By April ReeseUniversity of Georgia “Cicada killer wasps show up around the first of August inGeorgia and may be seen for about a month,” she said. “BySeptember, adult cicada killers will have mated, provisionedtheir burrows with cicadas for the larvae, laid their eggs, anddied.” “As big as female cicada killers are, they still have a hard timelumbering through the air with a cicada, so often they paralyzeit, drop it from the tree, and then drag it along the ground,”Hinkle said. “Although these wasps are very large, they usually ignorepeople,” said Nancy Hinkle, an extension entomologist with theUniversity of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “Theindividuals patrolling the ground are males, which cannot stingand are harmless. Females are rarely seen because they are busyhunting cicadas and must be provoked to sting.” “Females are rarely seen because they are busy up in the trees,looking for cicadas to bring back and bury in the ground fortheir larvae to feed on,” she explained. “While the females arecapable of stinging, they are shy and must be forced to sting.” “These strikingly colored wasps are particularly noticeablebecause of their size and the fact that they fly close to theground,” Hinkle said. Cultural control Cicada killers are solitary wasps, unlike most other wasps, suchas hornets, yellow jackets and paper wasps who live in socialgroups. Cicada killers live in solitary units where each femaledigs her own burrow, six to 10 inches deep and as much as sixinches horizontally, to lay her eggs. They prefer to burrow in well-drained or sandy soils, making ahorseshoe shaped mound beside the hole. Each burrow can have asmany as 20 eggs, each in an individual cell, and each egg canhave as many three cicadas to feed on in its cell.