• 48°

Cicada killers, mistaken for hornets, are beneficial bugs

By Darrell Blackwelder
For the Salisbury Post
Cicada-killers are giant hornet-like insects that are actively terrorizing homeowners throughout Rowan County.
Many have called concerned about these giant “hornets” buzzing them and digging up their lawns and shrub beds. It’s understandable that homeowners would think that these large wasps are an imminent threat, especially to those allergic to bee stings or with small children.
However, these large, slow flying wasps do not aggressively sting like yellow jackets, hornets or wasps. Ironically they tend to be somewhat curious, buzzing people as they walk through their lawns and gardens. No one has ever complained to me of being stung by a cicada killer.
Late summer is when cicada-killers in our area are most active. They have emerged and are actively seeking cicadas for their young. Unfortunately, they aggressively seek cicadas, burrowing into lawns and shrub beds.
Male wasps live for about two weeks, patrolling their territory and fighting with other males. Females live about four weeks, working hard, digging burrows and hunting food for their offspring. Researchers have calculated that in a typical season, 100 female cicada-killers can eliminate more than16,000 cicadas from the surrounding area.
Cicada-killer females paralyze cicadas with their stinger and feed to their young. Cicada-killer grubs hatch from the egg in a few days, feed on the cicada and over-winter underground in a hard cocoon. The insect hatches in early to mid-July and digs its way to the surface.
Cicada-killers can be controlled with Sevin dust or other pesticides near the nests’ entrance. Be careful not to disturb the burrow as the female must walk through the dust for control. You may need to repeat treatments for 2-3 weeks if new wasps move into the area.
At close range, adults can be killed with a wasp aerosol as they light on foliage or enter the nest burrow. If you do not feel comfortable treating the area, contact a licensed pest control operator. Always read the label directions to confirm current listing of pests, and follow safety precautions, before using any insecticide.
Please note: Spraying the burrows only kills the female and not all her offspring since they are walled off in chambers underground.
Another way to prevent cicada-killer nesting is to plant dense, tall vegetation or mow your lawn at the highest setting during the nesting season.
In shrub and flower beds, make sure you have a three-inch layer of mulch. The wasps don’t live very long, so at most they will be a pest about two months out of the year.
Even though their look is menacing and they do cause some minor damage to the landscape, these insects do feed on other insects and should be considered one of few “good” wasps.
nnn
Darrell Blackwelder is an agricultural agent in charge of horticulture with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County; 704-216-8970.
Web sites:
http://rowan.ces.ncsu.edu
http://www.rowanmaster gardener.com
http://www.rowanhorti culture.com.

Comments

Comments closed.

Local

Local state trooper, firefighter returns home after Army deployment

Local

Blast from the past: Concordia Lutheran Church opens time capsule from previous century

Crime

Blotter: Salisbury man charged with damaging video camera, tresspassing

Crime

North Carolina man faces over 300 sex-related charges

News

Coastal flooding along Outer Banks closes roads

Nation/World

GOP hopeful Supreme Court battle will help shift election

Education

‘Better chance of succeeding’: Moody, colleagues reflect on tenure, retirement

News

Collecting garbage: Locals work to beautify High Rock Lake during Clean Sweep

Coronavirus

Salisbury man grateful parents’ story has impacted many

News

Celtics take big lead and hold on to top Heat 117-106

Business

Downtown Salisbury ‘moving swiftly’ with developers interested in Empire Hotel

Business

From fantasy to fact, Cherry builds a Hobbit House at his Treesort

Business

Biz Roundup: CSP seeking to hire 100 new employees for plant expansion

Coronavirus

Police, sheriff focus on education in addressing mask-wearing complaints

Education

Candidates for East Area school board seat have widely different views on renewal

Kannapolis

Cannon Mills’ whistle sounds again, brings nostalgia with it

Coronavirus

UPDATED: Outbreak at jail annex over; new cases emerge at Kannapolis facility

Elections

In Senate race, Tillis calibrates ties to Trump

News

5 Charlotte officers recommended for dismissal after death in custody

Elections

Trump, Biden hit unlikely battleground state of Minnesota

College

Maui Invitational moving to Asheville during pandemic

News

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

Crime

Blotter: Sept. 19

Coronavirus

Kannapolis brewery linked to eight COVID-19 positives