If You Live Here, Prepare to See More Wasps This Summer, Experts Warn
Fifteen states may be subjected to more of these "massive" wasps in the coming months.
While bees, wasps, and hornets of all kinds tend to make an appearance each summer, you may see even more this year. With the Brood X cicadas emerging in 15 states for the first time in 17 years, a host of unwelcome critters are making appearances to gobble on the crunchy bugs. The trillions of cicadas are expected to draw out more wasps referred to as "cicada killers" as they feast on their food source of choice.
Cicada killer wasps look similar to murder hornets but are more "mild-mannered," explains certified entomologist Natasha Wright. These wasps emerge from underground in the summer to feed on cicadas and begin to die off in the fall. While they are generally not aggressive, they do sting when bothered, and "their massive size would amount to a massive puncture wound," says Wright.
But the real damage these wasps are likely to create is in your yard. The cicada killer wasps dig long, messy burrows in the ground. To try to keep them from messing up your grass, Wright suggests overseeding and watering any bare patches to encourage grass and vegetation growth, which will make the area less desirable to the wasps for nesting.
"As one of the biggest groups of periodical cicadas, Brood X is definitely where we see a lot of cicada killers," says Andrew Harris, pest control service supervisor at AccuRat Pest Solutions in the U.K. While there won't technically be more cicada killers buzzing around, you may spot more of them nearby since far more cicadas than usual will be scattered about for the taking.
Entomologist Ryan Smith, a pest control expert in Oregon, says as Brood X starts "to emerge in certain states, we can spot more cicada killers than usual." He explains that "they feast on emerging cicadas, with female cicada killers stinging cicadas to death. After mating, male cicada killers die, while females remain active for a month or two."
To see if you're in one of the 15 states that could see a rise in cicadas and cicada killer wasps, read on.