How to Get Rid of Cicada Killer Wasps

Updated on July 10, 2018
crissytsu profile image

I am a Texas native who has dealt with the ordeal of cicada killer wasps nesting in my yard.

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If you live in Texas, you might have seen what looks like a wasp on steroids flying around your backyard. These ground digger wasps, or cicada killers, are menacing looking insects. They put bumblebees to shame when it comes to size.

The ground digger wasp is roughly 0.6-2 inches in length (closer to three here in Texas), with a red body and bright yellow stripe around the abdomen. They fly extremely fast and you can literally see them darting around from a great distance. They aren't overly aggressive when it comes to stinging, but they will dive-bomb you and keep going. They have a pronounced buzz, much louder than a bumblebee. Even if they don't sting, they are very frightening due to their enormous size.

They prey on cicadas and carry them back to their underground den. For those of you who know how big a cicada is, can you imagine the size of a wasp that can prey on one? Scary thought, isn't it?

How to Get Rid of Ground Digger Wasps Naturally or With Chemicals

If you only have a couple of ground digger wasps flying around, then you can probably eliminate the problem yourself. If you have more than four or five that are constantly around, an exterminator may be considered. Below will be some methods on how to handle these wasps yourself.

It's understandable that you want to get rid of these pests in an environmentally friendly fashion. Chemical methods may cause some harm to your yard and they may be risky if you have pets. One safe method only involves the use of a glass bowl and boiling water.

How to Get Rid of Ground Digger Wasps Naturally

  1. The first step to eliminating this pest is locating their den. Remember, they dig into the ground so you will be looking for a hole the size of a penny or nickel on parts of the yard that do not contain grass. A sign that one has burrowed into the grass is a mound that resembles an anthill, but with no ants present.
  2. Once you find these holes/mounds (there is a picture below that shows exactly what you are looking for) mark them with something like a stake, stick, or a plastic knife. This will make the holes easier to find at nighttime when you will do your attack.
  3. Wait until night to go out to the burrows. These wasps leave their dens during the day and hunt for cicadas, so it is best to wait until nighttime when they have returned back home before you try to eliminate them.
  4. Boil some water and place it in your container of preference. You could use a pot or a pitcher. How much water you boil depends on how many burrows you are dealing with. Make sure you have a sufficient amount. Be sure to grab a flashlight to help with visibility (preferably one that is not too bright so as not to attract the wasps). Also make sure you have a glass bowl for every hole.
  5. Pour the boiling water down the hole. Quickly cover the entrance of the burrow with a glass bowl and leave it on.
  6. Check the bowl in the morning. If the wasp did not die from the water, it will be trapped by the bowl. It will eventually suffocate or die from the hot sun.
  7. Recover any dead wasps and consider covering the burrows. If you still see some wasps flying around, you may have missed a nest. Search again for any burrows.

Chemical Methods to Get Rid of Cicada Killers

You may need to use more stronger substances to get rid of ground digger wasps. Below are some potential chemicals and insecticides you can use. Remember to be mindful of any pets you have around.

  • Bleach: This chemical is more unorthodox but it can kill the female wasp. Keep in mind that it will not kill the eggs.
  • Ammonia: This is a favorite method of mine. Dumping ammonia down the holes and then covering the hole with a rock or brick or even filling it in will kill all the wasps in the holes. However, it will not kill the eggs.
  • Boric Acid: This stuff is gold in my opinion. You can buy a bottle of liquid boric acid from a drug store or even some Walmarts for under $30. This will kill both the female and the eggs. So that means no returning wasps the next year.

Pesticides for Cicada Killers

If for whatever reason the household products fail to eradicate these insects, there is still a couple of other things you can try before calling in a professional. These methods require you to purchase a professional grade pesticide but apply it yourself.

  • Hornet Spray: You can buy a variety of hornet sprays that shoot up to 25 feet and unload a massive amount into each hole. These wasps will sting if provoked and will protect their nests, so aim good and give yourself some space between yourself and the hole. It is recommended that you wear some type of protective clothing.
  • Demon WP: This insecticide works by mixing a packet of Demon with a gallon of water and pouring it into a sprayer. It is recommended that you use this spray between the months of July and September so you can get the wasps early in their life cycle. This spray can continue to work for three months.
  • Pyrethrin-based powder: Pyrethrin is actually what some professional exterminators use when they come to take care of the problem. This could be a simple solution when nothing else seems to be working and it is a lot cheaper than hiring an exterminator for a couple of annoying cicada killers. You can spread this powder around the nest. Be sure to keep children and pets away until the dust has settled.
  • Drione Dust: This is a silica-based dust with natural pyrethrum. It immediately kills wasps and can even absorb their odors and pheromones. This helps in preventing other wasps from coming in again.
  • Cypermethrin: You may consider using a liquid concentrate if you have a large amount of nests in your yard. A mixture of this insecticide can last for two to four weeks. It is also effective in killing eggs and larvae.

Do Cicada Killers Sting?

Despite their intimidating appearance, these wasps are pretty mild mannered. They are not aggressive toward humans and will generally not sting unless they are provoked, such as being grabbed. You should always be cautious if you are allergic to insect stings but you could probably walk around places where they are gathered and not attract any attention.

It should be noted that only females possess stingers. Their sting may be painful, if only because their stingers are relatively large. Males don't have a stinger but they do have a sharp spine at the tip of their abdomen that they try to attack with. The males are fairly aggressive as they are territorial but they pose no real threat with the lack of a stinger. Both male and female wasps may try to bite with their large jaws but these can't do any real damage to people.

What Is the Cicada Killer Lifecycle?

You'll see cicada killers start to appear during the months of June and July. This is when they reach adulthood and are out burrowing tunnels and hunting cicadas for their own larvae when they hatch. They will die off around September or October. A larva will spend the winter in a cocoon and will go through pupation during the spring. They will emerge from their burrows in the summer and begin the cycle again.

Preventive Measure for Cicada Killers

Here are some steps you can take to prevent ground digger wasps from coming to or returning to your yard.

  • Watering and fertilizing your grass can create a thick, lush growth. This can prevent the cicada killer from digging into your lawn.
  • Covering a wasp hole or filling it with mulch can deter the wasps if you block them when they first appear. Drenching the burrows can be effective as well.
  • Frequently water the soil around your home so that it is consistently damp and moist. The wasps prefer soil that is dry and solid since it is easier to dig through.

Which methods have you tried?

See results

Feedback Wanted

Your feedback is greatly appreciated. If you have used another method of treatment not mentioned here, please let us know—whether it worked or didn't. I'm also curious if anyone has ever been stung by one of these wasps! If so, was it more painful than a normal wasp?

Questions & Answers

    © 2012 crissytsu

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      • profile image

        Kelly 

        12 days ago

        For some reason after living here for over 10 years, they have just started showing up. So far this year I have had 3. I have been very lucky with killing all 3 with my daughters old toy plastic hoe and good old fashioned nerves of steel. But boy are those suckers hard to kill!! They refuse to die!!! I just now realized that I have seen more cicadas recently so that is probably why. I know someone said to not kill them, but when u are allergic to them and ur not sure if ur 5 year old is, I take no chances. But I will DEFINITELY try out some of these ideas!! I’ve tried the boiling water with a yellow jacket nest....didn’t work. Do you know if 7dust would work?? Not sure if it has the same poisons in it.

      • profile image

        Naturist 

        3 weeks ago

        Please reconsider exterminating Cicada Killers. They naturally control the cicada populations, which feed on surrounding flora. By removing these harmless wasps from your garden, you will likely see an increase in cicadas, which could actually be much worse for your plants.

      • profile image

        Dave S 

        4 weeks ago

        It took 3 years to end the cycle. Mark the holes in daylight with a plastic knife. At night after say 10:00 PM go back out and fill holes with ammonia. I used a 2 gallon sprayer 1 gallon ammonia, 1 gallon water. Plug the hole with a stick or push the dirt back in. You need to do this night after night. Each year I had less and less. So far just 1 this year.

      • profile image

        David 

        5 weeks ago

        I did not want to get rid of these Wasps because I hate the cicadas. I would like to attract them to My yard. The wasp do not hurt anything and they help keep the racket down from the cicadas.

      • profile image

        Joe S 

        6 weeks ago

        I have more than 50 holes, the last two days I used a fly swatter and

        as soon as the bees land I swat, yesterday I got 14 the day before I

        got 12. Also, as soon as the bee goes into the hole I shoot in the powder and stuff the hole with dirt that seems to work too. It seems

        to be a full time job and no end.

      • crissytsu profile imageAUTHOR

        crissytsu 

        6 weeks ago from Texas

        Go out at night and pour the powder down the holes and stick a rock over them.

      • crissytsu profile imageAUTHOR

        crissytsu 

        6 weeks ago from Texas

        Ugh if they were taking over my yard to where I couldn't leave my house I would hire an exterminator too.

      • profile image

        Chris byr 

        7 weeks ago

        Struggled with these for years. Only thing that works is killing them off, year after year. Tennis racket is best weapon and lots of fun. Never got stung once. The more you kill each season the less you will have the following. After 3 or 4 years, we no longer have any.... enjoy

      • profile image

        Carol, Bucks county Pa. 

        7 weeks ago

        They are at my front door and front yard, alone Have actually dug up my front stone walk with hole and dirt. I cannot fight them, so will get an exterminator to do that. What can be the harm in that, I, like some one said, cannot move out and let them take over as they are doing.

      • profile image

        Tracey 

        7 weeks ago

        I've had ckw's for years, normally only one or two that burrow in a high traffic area. I had always learned to deal with them. Until there's a dozen. Had to break out the hornet spray. 6 down, and more to go. Seems like a population surge this year (07/2018).

      • profile image

        Nicole Haman 

        8 weeks ago

        Please help. I ordered boric acid and received the powder. I have numerous cicada wasp nests around my son's playset and my dogs have begun digging up the nests. Not sure how to use the powder but went this route since it also takes care of the larvae. My son is unable to play outside and l am worried about our dogs as well. One is a year and the other a 5 month old puppy as we lost our other two a year ago for one and a couple of months ago with the other and l would hate to see something happen to them. Wondering if l use the powder directly or mix to make a sprayable solution?

      • profile image

        CC 

        2 months ago

        I have had several Cicada Killer Wasps build burrows in my yard. It was getting out of hand. I found it best to use a flashlight (so I could see) late in the evening, and flood the burrows with water. When the CKW appears, SMASH it with a hand spade or digger while it is ridding it's wings of excess water. Then when the CKW is dead, and the water has subsided, use the digger to punch holes into the burrow destroying it. Add more water if you desire.

      • profile image

        WyogirlinTX 

        2 months ago

        Great info. Thanks.

      • profile image

        Lea 

        2 months ago

        I sprinkled diatomaceous earth around the hole where wasps were entering a nest and they were gone permanently the next morning.

      • crissytsu profile imageAUTHOR

        crissytsu 

        2 months ago from Texas

        Awesome. Thanks for verifying.

      • profile image

        Ron 

        2 months ago

        I had a bad problem with them and I put gasoline in a pump sprayer ,so I could stick the wand in there holes. Never had a problem again. Gasoline works great!!

      • profile image

        Eddie 

        2 months ago

        We live in east central Iowa. In the summer of 2017 I decided to go on the offensive with our cicada killers. I was able to kill over 40 of the wasps with a simple solution of Dawn dishsoap and water. I mixed about a tablespoon to a gallon of water in a pump sprayer. The best time to kill them is in the morning as they settle on the bushes, grass and pavement. The smaller males are fairly easy to knock down and if you can get it on their underside, they seem to go down quicker. In general, if you can get them a little wet with the solution, you can then come in closer and soak them well. They will curl up and die in about 30 seconds usually -- or you can finish the job by stepping on them.

        The drawback with this method is that you have to wait for them to come to you, you have to be a bit stealthy and you have to have a decent aim with your garden sprayer. However, the dishsoap solution is also awesome to use with the wasps that build the paper nest hanging under our roof eaves. The wasps don't get aggressive because they seem to think they are just getting rained on.

        The post below where the contributor had over 150 wasps in their door was probably dealing with yellowjackets. We've had those too, both coming into our basement though an uncaulked hole in the siding and in an abandoned groundhog hole in the yard. The ones coming into the house were eliminated by caulking the entry hole in the fall when they went dormant. The nest in the ground was killed by running a small tube from a hole drilled in an old pill bottle. At night, when the hornets were in their nest, I slid the tube into their nest entrance, then covered the rest of the hole with a brick so they couldn't escape. Then I poured a few ounces of isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol into the pill bottle, and it ran into their nest. The vapors killed them.

      • profile image

        Mary 

        3 months ago

        I have over 300 mounds throughout the summer every year. Cicada killers seem to want to build a nest around concrete or the base of a bush. When desperate, they will build a nest in the middle of the yard. Every year it gets worse and worse. I had an exterminator spray the first year with success, but I wasn't so lucky after that. They appear in June and don't leave until September. Thankfully, I've never been stung although I've heard the females will sting if severely agitated. I seem to be the only house on the street with this huge problem. I'm simply at a loss as to what to do. I will definitely try boric acid and other items mentioned. Having a wooded area in the back yard certainly doesn't help. Interestingly, a professor at a large university in Georgia told me I should be happy since it's free aeration. I was not amused. I told him he should see my yard before making a comment like that.

      • profile image

        Toni P 

        3 months ago

        Toni

        I had a very bad bout with the cicator killer about 15 holes and mounds. After I read about them I knew that only the Female could sting so I used a large bug net and caught the females as she went into the hole and stepped on them in the net to kill it. After the female was dead I fill the hole with boiling water and also added vinegar to the hole not at the same time. I also repeated the boiling water and vinegar a couple of times after the first time. Then I would move on to other mounds and I would also net and kill the males which were smaller than the female. I believe that the boiling water and the vinegar killed the cicator and it rotted out preventing the in mature wasps from feeding on the paralyzed cicator. Without using poisons I got rid of most of the wasps and had about three mounds the next year and continue the same way and had no wasps faster than people how had sprayers come in to their yards.

      • profile image

        LZim 

        9 months ago

        10 years ago we remodeled and the dirt brought in or the bare dirt around the house brought these to my garden. By the second year we had 100s of them swarming at about 10 inches off the ground for most of the summer. They appear about July 1 and stay for about 6 weeks. At first I was horrified and I still really hate them, because they are scary, I don't care if they don't sting. They are noisy and they will fly right into you. But I've never been stung. After a couple years I ventured back into the garden and learned that they are really just interested in fighting each other and their eggs.

        After a couple years we decided to eradicate them and used an insecticide by Bayer, I think Bayer Complete, which we mixed and poured down the hundreds of holes we located throughout my 70' by 70' fenced garden. We got up right before dawn on a summer morning and worked for several hours. This made a huge difference and we've never had quite the swarm we had the first year. BUT they did move out to other areas and now we keep cans of foaming wasp spray with the long tube and we spray that down any hole we find--we buy those in bulk and whenever there is a sale because we go through at least 30-40 cans a summer. We also kill the females whenever we can by hitting them out of the air or squishing them when they are going in and out of their holes. They are still all over our property, but not to the extent they once were.

        One thing that is strange about them in our yard is that they have invaded our grass outside my garden. I know that they prefer bare dirt, but their dirt mounds are throughout the grass in some areas of the wild lawn past my garden where we killed so many. Also, we don't have any bare dirt, yet they continue to infest our property. I'm a devoted mulcher and everything is mulched or covered in intensive planting schemes, yet these insects keep digging.

        We live in Maryland. The weird thing is that almost no one around here has ever seen one of these insects. I kept one in a baggie in the freezer for awhile as a show and tell to freak people out. They are scary looking for sure. Like little hummingbirds in the shape of a wasp.

        BTW our electrician says he was stung by one and that it really, really hurt. Somehow he accidentally grabbed one. Don't know how that's actually possible. But I walk in among them all the time and I'm not afraid of getting stung.

      • profile image

        JR 

        11 months ago

        In reading some of the posts I've decided that some people are talking about different wasps. Every time we have dealt with these ground wasps they have attacked us. The last time was just over two months ago. They had gone from the ground to the wood around my glass sliding door. We had no idea they were there. It was about bed time and I opened the door to put a bug outside that I had found on my dining room table. All at once we were swarmed by the wasps from inside of my door frame. Thankfully there were three adults at my house. I shut the door (after over 50 of them got inside my house). My husband went through the garage with bug spray, my son got the bug zapper and I grabbed the vacuum. I got stung 2 times and my son 3 (hubby not at all). We probably killed over 150 of them. My son zapped and I vacuumed them up because most of them were still alive even after being zapped. These jerks are very aggressive!!! (I'm now getting a new glass sliding door since obviously the wood must have some rotting and was inviting to the wasps).

      • profile image

        Mike219219 

        11 months ago

        Here's one I haven't seen on any of the posts. A very heavy concentrate of Dawn dish soap in a weed pump sprayer mixed with water. It drops them out of the sky immediately If you get them with a good soaking. Shove the wand all the way down the hole and let her RIP. I dunno if it kills larvae.

      • profile image

        danrm 

        11 months ago

        everything i read their nest is in the ground. i have a nest of them in a rotten section of a standing maple tree.

      • crissytsu profile imageAUTHOR

        crissytsu 

        12 months ago from Texas

        Melissa... Sorry but I have no clue on that whatsoever but if you try it come back and post the results!

      • profile image

        Melissa O. 

        12 months ago

        Would it work if when summer season end I cover my lawn with a layer of Lie and the cover with burlap sacks??? Thinking when it rain s the Lie will soak into the ground. But will it kill them and or kill my lawn????

        ANY ANSWERS....

      • profile image

        Fred springfield Pa 

        12 months ago

        I have tried ammonia, boric acid, and Delta dust I've also killed about 400 of them with a tennis racket this year alone. I have never been stung. They started 2 years ago and keep getting worse. This year was really bad and they moved to the other side of my yard half way through the season. I am going to spray Adonis in a week or so and then again in the spring then again in the summer. If it doesn't work I am going to move. I treated 30 to 40 holes this season. Ammonia was useless, boric acid helped, delta dust helped.

      • profile image

        RJE 

        12 months ago

        Tempo Powder applied at dusk worked great. Fast acting, just like cyanide would.

      • profile image

        Bill Hasse 

        12 months ago

        I would be amazed if any of your feedback includes a description of a sting by a cicada killer. They are completely unaggressive. If you grab one, yes, it will probably sting you. If you just leave them alone, they won't. If you must kill wasps, take out your aggression on yellow jackets, or some more irritable species that presents a more likely possibility of stinging.

      • profile image

        Vicki 

        12 months ago

        I have a small area in front of my house with about 30 holes from ground wasps. Will digging out the dirt about 1 foot deep and putting new top soil in eliminate the eggs from hatching. Also I thought about using liquid boric acid on the dirt after I dig it up. I'll be dumping the dirt at a land fill.

      • profile image

        Christina 

        12 months ago

        My husband recently bought bullets for his M1- I'm not opposed to using that! :)

      • profile image

        Mike 

        13 months ago

        Just pour water down the hole with a canteen or watering can. then they will back out of the whole and then I grabbed them with channel locks and squeeze. I know it sounds sick but at least I'm not using chemicals and hurting the environment

      • profile image

        jimbo 

        13 months ago

        I use a child's butterfly net to catch and kill the hornets. I must of killed forty of them. It is the third year we have had them. I have been using hornet spray down the holes.

      • profile image

        Old Fashioned 

        13 months ago

        Put a butterfly net on top of their hole. Pour water into the hole until it forces them to come out into the net. Slide a piece of cardboard under the net. Lift up the cardboard while continuing to keep them trapped in the net. Cut a hole in the bottom of the cardboard, quickly put an empty soda can up to the hole, and shake all the wasps into the pop can. Now slide the can over a bit so it's covered by the cardboard where there's not a hole. Put on some heavy duty boots. Stomp on the can and smash the wasps to bits!!!! (Can use a sledge hammer instead if you are confident in your aim)

      • profile image

        Sharon 

        13 months ago

        I have a concrete porch with brick outlining and then a garden in front of my house. The wasps have made a home in between the brick and the concrete. I am afraid of using something that may kill the bushes and plants in my garden. Any safe suggestions?

      • profile image

        Phyllis 

        13 months ago

        I live in Virginia. This our firs time summer in our newly built home. I fist noticed these wasps in the mulch where our grapes were growing. I tried blasting the holes with a water jet early in the morning and then smashing the dazed wasps that came out. I killed about 8 that way. The rest moved into our back lavendar and catmint. I found about five new holes each morning which I shot the white powder you referenced down. I think all this did was make them leave that hole and go make another. Three weeks and at least fifty holes later, the wasps are getting bigger and the holes have shifted to our side bed of heather and even along the driveway. I think these wasps are really resilient and aside from physically smashing them there's I still not much by way of chemicals that will kill them. My next strategy is to wait until they are done and gone and then go back one by one and try to dig up their holes and maybe then either leave them exposed or try a potent chemical on those spots I can expose. Another option is to figure out why they skipped my herb garden and my kiwis and try to duplicate that as best I can for next year.

      • profile image

        Stephen 

        13 months ago

        When I get them I use gas then I light it up. If they live they aren't at home.

      • profile image

        Anttoxic 

        13 months ago

        Broken broom with frisby tape on end thats my wasp swatter flood holes last night with bleach becoming barry bonds over nivhy

      • profile image

        Bryan 

        13 months ago

        Here is another idea, water crystals soaked in pesticide. It will make that den uninhabitable for a good long while. Also on the plus side if it isn't plat toxic your plants could absorb it and continue killing any pests plus any non pests but at least the pests would be gone. Can you tell I hate wasps?

      • profile image

        Bryan 

        13 months ago

        To Bob with the motor oil, technically the oil alone should suffocate them as insects breath through their carapace. The oil should effectively plug the holes and suffocate them. Dish soap might be more effective though. Or... after using a deep fryer dump the oil on them, which will have them breathing in burning hot oil while suffocating.

      • profile image

        Bob 

        13 months ago

        I just sit outside with an electric fly swatter and wait for them to come. Chase after them and boom.

        These suckers are so big and strong though that at times they sparked off my swatter and flew away.

        Got one stuck on there once and literally cooked it...smoke and everything. lol

        Another tactic i used before is pouring motor oil down the holes with the wasp in the burrow. They crawl out soaked in oil unable to fly....then boom. Step on it or fly-swat it.

      • profile image

        rick 

        13 months ago

        Staten island NY

        Ive been with them for three summers and tried a lot of different sprays none of them worked until I found a method that has totally worked.

        1. use foaming wasp spray in holes

        2. squeeze ample amount of Seven powder in holes

        3. sprinkle seven powder all over lawn

        The first day after application there were noticeably less cicada killers

        The day after the first rain there was only 1 cicada killer which I Rafa Nadaled

        After that I have not seen 1 cicada killer.

      • profile image

        Dd Lov 

        13 months ago

        Never been stung and I have them all over. They avoid us, even when we are near their holes. They will hover in the area til we are done with whatever we are doing. They make quick work of cicadas. I have friends who exterminate them and then deal with the cicada damage. By mid summer, I rarely hear a cicada.

      • profile image

        HT 

        13 months ago

        We have used Sevin sprayed directly in the hole. We used to have dozens. For years we haven't had them come back.

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        Terry 

        13 months ago

        We have tried many of the suggested ideas, but we have way too many now to find the holes! I have taken to hand to hand combat! This morning I took it 51 of them snagging them with my butterfly net, then hitting them with a hammer (while still in the net).

      • profile image

        Sue 

        13 months ago

        Is there any harm to let them live?

      • profile image

        Janis 

        13 months ago

        Can I use a powdered Boric Acid?

      • profile image

        Harry 

        13 months ago

        I've found Amonia to be very effective when I pour it down the holes at Dawn or Dusk. I've also knocked several down with an electric Tennis Racket

      • crissytsu profile imageAUTHOR

        crissytsu 

        13 months ago from Texas

        That's good to know Marc... I had only heard that gasoline works. Thanks for confirming it.

      • profile image

        Chris 

        13 months ago

        I have found that swatting them with a tennis racket works well.

      • profile image

        mark 

        13 months ago

        I have been stung by a cicada killer and trust me it was the worst pain I have ever felt. I was delivering the mail and when I got back in my truck the cicada killer must have gotten on the seat. When I sat back it got me. It felt like a red hot knife was stuck in my back. I fell out of my truck and onto the ground. My supervisor had to come and get me and I went home. A few hours later the intense pain continued and I had to go to the emergency ward for relief of the pain. While they are not aggressive you absolutely do not ever want to be stung!!

      • profile image

        Marc 

        13 months ago

        Used gasoline on 2 nests and covered the holes with the dirt the wasps dug out. One nest had a cicada killer by the hole and the gasoline killed it instantly. I've seen no activity or wasps since.

      • crissytsu profile imageAUTHOR

        crissytsu 

        13 months ago from Texas

        Magwraethe the boric acid is in liquid form. I've never had a problem with it killing my grass...just aim for the hole and cover it with a rock... Then keep your grass watered thoroughly.

      • crissytsu profile imageAUTHOR

        crissytsu 

        13 months ago from Texas

        You can also pour amonia down the holes at night when they're in the ground. The tricky part is you have to find the holes during the day and mark them. One year I had one cicada killer that hunted during the day in my yard and at night flew off to a neighbor's yard to nest... So there was really nothing I could do. Try amonia.

      • profile image

        magwraethe 

        13 months ago

        I read your entire article, and the comments.

        Is the boric acid liquid or powder?

        Does boric acid have a negative impact on your grass?

        Do the underground tunnels kill your grass?

      • profile image

        Magwraethe 

        13 months ago

        The individual using fire ant killer, I would like to know if it kills the eggs, as well. .... or only boric acid, and does it kill your grass?

        After reading all the comments, I feel grateful that we are not totally infested, however, this year, which has been drier, we have had more holes.

      • profile image

        Dan Sullivan 

        13 months ago

        I have found that if nothing else works try this ... wait for dusk , when it's starting to get dark . Then fill a watering can with water and pour it down the hole . When the wasp comes out of the hole spray a couple of shots of wasp spray from Hot Shot wasp and hornet spray ! Kills them after about 2 seconds. Then I turn them face down in the hole so no others go into the hole . You can pick up the spray from Menards or some other Home Improvement store .

      • profile image

        Lisa Phegley 

        14 months ago

        Hello,

        This is my 4th year dealing with the Cicada Killers. I have tried all of your solutions with exception of gasoline. My husband won't let me. I have maybe 20 Burroughs on a given day. We go out faithfully every night. Last night was my 10th night out. We went two night using ammonia, 2 night boric acid, 2 nights borax, 2 nights powerful concentrated liquids Seven plus gradual Seven along with More Borax all last night. Actually killed a few physicout of the hole. This morning they are out swarming in full force. Oh I forgot the first day I had my exterminator shoot them heir holes and shoot the man in the air. Nothing. I am so frustrated. Thanks for letting me blow off steam.

      • profile image

        Dave 

        14 months ago

        I'm going to add my $0.02 to the discussion since I am currently in the process of trying to rid our yard of an infestation. We have a back yard where the buggers have dug out nests completely surrounding our kids' play area so the kids are terrified to be outside during the summer, which I just can't have so trying to rid ourselves of them.

        I first tried the ammonia in the holes method but it didn't really seem to do anything other than annoy the wasps. So after trying some various methods including sucking them up with a shop vac (which worked but was sort of terrifying as they are strong enough to counteract the suction when flying) I think I've come up with a system that works for me.

        First, I've been going around marking the holes with the plastic knives when I see them. I've probably got 20-30 holes that we've identified in our yard. I then wait until just after dusk when all flying activity has stopped. What I've found is at that just after dusk is when they are actively digging out the holes and completely preoccupied with the task, so you can walk right up to them. So when I find them actively digging, I hit them with the foaming wasp spray. The Ortho Hornet & Wasp foaming spray seems to work pretty well although you have to use a ton of the stuff to kill them. So I have 3-4 cans handy because the last thing I want to do is run out of ammunition mid-attack (which I've done, which then results in much stomping). Don't bother with a non-foaming spray as you need something that's going to prevent them from flying away. Then I cover them up with a rock and then come back the next day to hit the hole with ammonia and water to (hopefully) kill the larvae. I'm up to around 15 that I've killed over the past two days and there's a noticeable difference in the number exerting air superiority over our yard. There definitely seem to be more holes than wasps that I've killed so not sure if they build multiple nests or what but every hole I find gets hit with ammonia.

        We only have so much summer in Chicago and I'm not yielding 6-8 weeks of outdoor time to the wasps. So time for them to go. Guess we'll see if we've gotten them before they've gotten the eggs laid and fed based on how many we get next year. But if they are back, I'll be following the same steps as this year.

      • profile image

        Opie 

        14 months ago

        Brake clean and a lighter. Put the straw on it and you've got a flame thrower that'll toast their wings off. Squirt some down the hole and light it off. Got rid of our infestation in two evenings

      • profile image

        Bill 

        14 months ago

        Badminton anyone? We have a hummingbird feeder and when the wasps arrived, the hummingbirds left. I watched as the wasps would chase them from the feeder. Enter the badminton racket and a new game. I've killed over 75 wasps in the last week using the racket and spaying the holes with hornet spray which is very effective. It doesn't take long to learn their habits and know when to swing the racket. I've never been chased or stung by the wasps. I now have no wasps and the hummingbirds are back. Anyone up for a game of Badminton?

      • profile image

        Mw 

        14 months ago

        Tennis racket and then a stomp.

      • profile image

        I've had it! 

        14 months ago

        Has anyone found a method that works? Saw a comment below abkut nail polish remover. I want to try that but hubby is afraid it will kill the grass. This is maybe the 4th or 5th year of dealing with them. I am fed up!

      • profile image

        Casey 

        14 months ago

        The last few Summers these Killer Bees as I like to call them have been in my backyard and I cannot figure out a way to get rid of them and my children are petrified of them so thanks to this website I will be trying these message to get rid of them and as another person said if you feel we should leave them alone then let them come live in your backyard

      • profile image

        Phil 

        14 months ago

        These Ciceda wasps are down the side of my built in pool. What would you recccamend and will they attack at night.

      • profile image

        Tony Olseski 

        14 months ago

        Ortho Hot Shot Hornet and Wasp Spray worked on them. I would wait for them to land while sunning themselves in the morning then shoot them with it. It would kill almost instantly. I would have left them, but they were constantly flying around my front door and I have two small children.

      • profile image

        Joe - Bristol pa 

        14 months ago

        This is the second year with these things. Last year I used ammonia in the holes and a grub killer that supposedly worked on cicadas (get rid of the cicadas and the wasps will leave thinking). Apparently I did a good job getting the nests because I can not find disturbed ground this year. I do however have just as many (actually much more) than last year. I have a virburmum and those thugs love the flowers.

        This morning before they arrived I sprayed the hell out of the flowers with liquid Sevin. Nope, they don't mind it a bit, they aren't affected at all.

        I bought some other stuff to try; Bifenthrin 7.5% and Delta Dust and a puffer (I'll keep you posted). Can anyone confirm a bug zapper will get the adults???

        I would mind a couple, or even 10 or 20. I have 100s of these things and I get divebombed every time I go outside. I know they are harmless but extrordanarily annoying and I want them gone!!!!

        Any ideas for traps that work? I can't possibly use more pesticides than I already have!!

      • profile image

        Bob Sacamano 

        14 months ago

        I have been battling them for years in Georgia. I have had success limiting them using cypermethrin sprayed into the nest in the evening. (Cypermethrin powder mixed in a sprayer with the nozzle removed to allow a full stream) We use a two person strategy in the evening when the female wasp is usually in the nest. With a flashlight directed at the nest, one person fills the nest with the cypermethrin. This won't kill on contact, but the female, if in the nest, will emerge and the second person blasts them with wasp/hornet killer spray. The female is killed, and the cypermethrin should help with killing the eggs for next season. Additionally, I dig up the nests in the winter and fill them with insect/grub control that contains bifenthrin in an attempt to kill the larvae as they emerge the following summer. I believe this has helped with limiting the population each year. It is difficult to find the nests if they are around bushes or low groundcover. I have found too that pouring boiling water into the nest works, if you don't mind killing the grass or plant life in the immediate area.

      • profile image

        Fed UP 

        14 months ago

        For those individuals who feel these wasps should be left alone, you can allow them to live in your yard. There have been so many that I get swarmed on all sides of my yard and cannot enjoy the outdoors for two months. I am doing all I can to kill them. Ammonia, bleach, and Drano did not help. The boric acid was of little help as well. This year I am filling my yard with poison before for they start to dig. I love nature, but I hate that these pests take over my yard for two months in July and August. I like to sit outside and BBQ for the 4th of July and have not been able to for the past few years. They don't pay taxes or my mortgage, and they have to go.

      • profile image

        Arlene 

        23 months ago

        Hubby was just stung on his ankle by one and the pain was horrific. Said it felt like a huge needle was stuck into his ankle. Applied meat tenderizer and after a while the pain decreased.

      • crissytsu profile imageAUTHOR

        crissytsu 

        24 months ago from Texas

        Thanks for sharing

      • crissytsu profile imageAUTHOR

        crissytsu 

        24 months ago from Texas

        My problem is now they are nesting in a neighbor's yard and I can't even locate the holes and now they come to my yard to torment me and I can't get to the root of the problem now lol

      • crissytsu profile imageAUTHOR

        crissytsu 

        24 months ago from Texas

        I feel your pain

      • crissytsu profile imageAUTHOR

        crissytsu 

        24 months ago from Texas

        Everything that I've ever read says they don't nest in moist ground. Thanks for the info

      • profile image

        C.B. fLORIDA 

        2 years ago

        DO THESE BEES/WASPS HAVE ANY GOOD PURPOSE IN OUR ENVIRONMENT ??

      • profile image

        Anonymous 

        2 years ago

        We have had a problem with these Cicada Killers since we have moved into our new home. I have tried multiple methods. Gasoline, soap, deet, covering holes, burning holes.. And nothing worked! One day I decided to use finger nail polish remover. WOW. It works great! One touch of finger polish on their hide and they're dead. Praise the Lord Jesus for this idea! All the glory is God's! (:

      • profile image

        Amy 

        2 years ago

        I've tried almost everything..... marking the holes only to find 50 new ones the next day. I have tried ammonia, gas, water, blocking the hole....The sheer amount of liquid for hundreds and hundreds of holes isn't reasonable. The exterminator wouldn't guarantee that it would do anything because there were new nests every day..... I need to mow the area and I have guests that won't come because they are fearful with allergies. I try to run a B&B and liability is an issue. I can't just leave them because it gets worse. I live in a sandy area and this summer we had little rain...... I spray about 300 a day and go out as often as I can. :(

      • profile image

        Jane 

        2 years ago

        We had about 45 holes in our yard I think we kill most of the wasp still have a few to go - we have had a wet summer for South Jersey we also have a stream that runs under our area nothing seems to deter these wasp. We used both ammonia and boric acid. Hopefully we have killed the wasp and the nest and don't have a repeat of this summer.

      • profile image

        Martin 

        2 years ago

        I used half a can of the wasp killer on one only 3 feet from me. He got pissed but was still able to fly off. I am going gasoline but always light it and stand back with the water hose. Have done it to other bees in the yard for many years. As for wet yard, that is b/s as I live in NC with constant wet yard. Does not bother them one bit. If gas doesn't work I am going boric acid. Had it dropped in the house for Brown Recluse Spiders and seems everything but standard house fly's have been effected by it.

      • profile image

        kandainv 

        2 years ago

        I found a novel way to keep these pests under control, I shoot them with .22 birdshot. I have a very small Crickett single shot and a plentiful supply of birdshot. I wait for them to land near their hole or on a corn stalk and blast them from about 4 ft away. A bit more expensive than conventional methods, but really fun. Make sure this is legal in your area before attempting!!

      • profile image

        KristenFurgus 

        2 years ago

        I had about 30 to 40 piles of dirt in my front lawn so I had to do something. The piles of dirt kill the lawn. This was a serious increase from about 5 holes last year. What people don't tell you is when you pour the ammonia down the hole, the little critters get mad and, more often than not, climb out of the hole and they sound angry. I have been marking the holes with plastic forks and found the forks work really well to eliminate the cicada killers as they climb out of the hole. You may have to trap them with your foot and slowly side back to properly impale them. I take them over to the cement and crush them to make sure they are gone. And, then I cover the hole to ensure that their friends don't come back. I have gone from 5 to 10 new holes a day and dozens flying around in my front yards to now only one new hole this morning (already eliminated and hole covered) and maybe zero to two flying around. I have probably killed around 60; we had a serious infestation. I think my method of taking them out one at a time is working. I will be ready next year!

      • profile image

        Penna girl 

        2 years ago

        Ok, I'm fine with not killing these things, especially since the consensus seems to be that not much kills them anyway, but if I'm not going to kill them, I want them to all to relocate away from my very small yard... any suggestions?

      • profile image

        jim bell 

        2 years ago

        I tried using fire ant killer on them. The white powder from Ortho that smells really bad. I dumped about a tablespoon in and around the hole and it got rid of them.

      • profile image

        conni..iowa 

        2 years ago

        Bleach isn't working anymore.. it seemed to work the first 2 nights, but the 3rd night it came out of its hole and I had to drop a brick on it. And tonight doing the bleach again on 2 holes, and they each came out. I picked up the bleach bottle and headed for the door, and unknowing to me one was on the bottle. I threw the bottle and it landed on the step, I stepped on it, as for the 2nd one that came out, I don't know if it survived, I left it and ran inside. I'm very allergic to bees.

      • profile image

        Audrey TX 

        2 years ago

        I beg to differ about them not nesting in moist ground! The ground under the AC drain is always saturated and they have a nest next to the drain pan. 2/3 of a can of wasp and hornet spray didn't kill a single one. I'm leaning towards using gasoline...worried about killing the grass but getting desperate

      • profile image

        Tom7777777 

        2 years ago

        I got rid of my Cicada Killer Wasps.

        They nested in my front walkway for 7 years. The walk way was bricks in sand. The mailman and other delivery people would not come to the front door in July due to the terrifying appearance of these wasps.

        I used an organic insect spray made with mint that I bought at home depot; the wasps would leave for a day, then return. Since they seemed to dislike mint, I left out small branches of mint, and the wasps stayed away. Then I planted a small patch of mint 15-20 feet from the nest site. The wasps have not been back for the past 5 years.

      • profile image

        Rosyc 

        2 years ago

        I get really good exercise during the month they are active. I have a tennis racket to swing at them. Really fun and when they fall to the ground then I smash them with the racket. They have never stung us in all the years we do this. Liquid Sevin mixed with water and poured down the holes works well also.

      • profile image

        NC 

        2 years ago

        The males don't even sting.......and the females will only sting if handled roughly or stepped on......They are intimidating, yes....but dangerous, no......I'm to the point myself that I've just accepted em for the 2 months they are here and leave em be. They got under my concrete steps out back and eradication is next to possible

      • crissytsu profile imageAUTHOR

        crissytsu 

        4 years ago from Texas

        Let us know how it works. I hear it kills eggs and all

      • profile image

        In NJ 

        4 years ago

        I have quite a few mounds and dozens of them flying around for the past month. I've had the exterminator here twice already. It does NOTHING. The exterminators spray a topical type poison as well as a granular one on the mounds. They do not do a hole search/spray. My neighbor used a different exterminator and it is the same thing. If the cicada killers were in a non-traffic part of my property they probably wouldn't bother me so much. They are by the end of my driveway where kids play and wait for bus. My kids friends are afraid as well. Soooo..I know many will not agree with me but I'm taking matters into my own hands. I am buying liquid boric acid and a funnel tomorrow. I'm going to wait until dusk and drop the stuff down as many holes as I can find. WHen I lived in NY/Hoboken apts, boric acid in corners def kept roaches away. I'm going for it!!! ----Fed up mom in NJ!

      • crissytsu profile imageAUTHOR

        crissytsu 

        4 years ago from Texas

        Yeah I'm deathly afraid of them and dread going outside in the summer once I spot one. I hadn't seen one yet this year until lady week when I was trimming branches on a tree and all of a sudden out of nowhere one starts dive bombing me and chasing me. I don't have dirt in my yard either anymore so I think it's hole is at the neighbors house so there's nothing I can do to get rid of the beast. And I agree, I don't care what they add to the ecosystem, I wanna enjoy being outdoors in the summertime and not get harassed by these monsters. Try boric acid...it supposedly kills the baby's and eggs if u know where the best is. It's cheap you should try it and let us know if it works.

      • profile image

        Joanne 

        4 years ago

        I either have 8 of these nesting in my lawn or one that keeps moving when I spray the nest with hornet spray, which hasn't killed it. My yard is lawn not dirt & I was watering the lawn for many days in a row & it still made nests. So annoying in the back yard around the pool. Don't care what they add to the ecosystem. There are plenty of low traffic areas in the yard they could have chosen instead.

      • profile image

        Tracymn 

        4 years ago

        The Great Golden Digger Wasp is a beneficial insect to most gardens, hunting insects that can cause damage to gardener's beloved plants. They also are great pollinators, feeding on nectar. They are NOT aggressive and very very rarely sting humans. In fact, the "darting around" you describe is a characteristic of this species that is often afraid to get too close to humans and other insects so they try to spend as little time on each flower as possible, going from one to the next to avoid interactions with other species.

        Anyone in this comment thread that describes being stung by multiple Great Golden Digger Wasps is wrong, they are misidentifying the species. Great Golden Digger wasps are solitary; they do not have hives and do not travel in groups stinging people. What stung you was not a Great Golden Digger Wasp.

        Do not kill these wasps, they are not aggressive and integral to a garden ecosystem. Leave them alone and they will leave you alone. Pollinators are in decline and they do not need people indiscriminately killing them for no reason. If they scare you that's your problem, not theirs. They won't hurt you so don't go into your backyard with Boric Acid and Gasoline and think you are doing anyone any favors by killing them. Educate yourselves on the differences between pollinators that are harmless versus other species that actually sting.

      • crissytsu profile imageAUTHOR

        crissytsu 

        4 years ago from Texas

        Omg...good luck! You are much braver than I am. Be careful

      • profile image

        david breaux 

        4 years ago

        What's in my 1acre yard along a canal is not big at all. But hundreds in size and aggressive like a killer bee!

        My daughter screaming came running as they swarmed around her.

        I ran to her and immediately squeezed around her ponytail where about 40 looked to be. I continued brushing them off her, behind her ear I could see one locked on bite~ing her.

        I open my hand from her hair and it hadn't look to of killed a single one? (but all this happen in seconds)

        I continued brushing them off and Sierra was also, along with moving towards our hot tub, where she was shooting for the whole time.

        She was bitten over 10 times easily!

        I ran for Benadryl as soon as I felt I had removed all from her hair and clothing that could continue bite~ing her.

        Amazingly calm and obviously in pain she clearly gets everything I've preaches about staying calm as possible to manage shock.

        She did need confirmation of being ok, I iced the bites as she sat soaking in the hot tub, after about 30 to 45 minutes she was coughing that worried us both, so we drove to a quick care that was minutes from the house, as well closing. We got in and seen, they gave her a shot to help fight the poison, some amino acids I think?

        We went home as the pain continued, she eventually fell to sleep with ice packs.

        Upon waking at around 6 am she said the pain was gone? Other than the hip, from the shot.

        Im amazed my 12 yr old girl reacted with unbelievable Prudence, if that's fitting, I am proud of her bravery in the clutches of such chaos .

        Part 2: my method of destroying there existence on my property?

        A huge best I've located, and been studying, from 30 ft I landed a large rock into one hole they poured from and into my hair in under a few seconds!

        Tonight in full home made wasp keeper suit I will try to video, and post, either there death or mine?

      • crissytsu profile imageAUTHOR

        crissytsu 

        5 years ago from Texas

        andy b...sorry to hear that...i have trouble even finding their holes sometimes and sometimes I think they are flying over from a neighbors yard---but what can you do? LOL

      • crissytsu profile imageAUTHOR

        crissytsu 

        5 years ago from Texas

        Yikes!!! I think I would have called the exterminator in the first place! LOL I wouldn't recommend trying to fend off that many yourself. I heard about this stuff called "Demon" that you get at the pest control place that supposedly kills EVERYTHING, including scorpions and in TX it only costs $20 for 3 applications of the stuff. Maybe that would work. I sprayed it all over my yard (even though its for the house, but i hate bugs) and insects like june bugs seem to die seconds after they hit the window where i sprayed it. Maybe its worth a try if you don't wanna have an exterminator come out, i don't know how expensive they are there in Cali. But thanks for letting me know about ammonia not working for you. I"ve only seen one ground digger wasp this year and dive bombed my head the other day. Ugh. I can't imagine more than that.

      • profile image

        andy b 

        5 years ago

        wet soil does not stop them digging in my raised garden bed

      • profile image

        Humbled 

        5 years ago

        Just tried the ammonia. Long story short, didn't seem to work. I'm in southern california and have golden digger wasps. It seemed to just piss them off. They have made approximately 50 dens (holes) in a section of my yard that is bare dirt, flat, and dry. It's approximately 10 feet wide by 60 feet long. The holes are shallow with very small dirt mounds cast off to the side. I was able to see the wasp in the hole just .25"-.5" below the surface. I waited until after dark and I poured the ammonia on them. Some holes appeared empty, perhaps having eggs. In the holes where I could see a wasp, when I poured the ammonia they woke up. They emerged from the hole and I had to use my boot on 3 of them. Then came the forth one, he/she came out and buzzed my head pretty good. After that I decided to call it a night. I will call an exterminator in the morning.

      • crissytsu profile imageAUTHOR

        crissytsu 

        5 years ago from Texas

        Yeah I agree gas does sound dangerous...those were just other effective methods other people have posted that worked for them. I personally hadn't tried that one--in all honesty I made someone else do the dirty work all together, I'm not chancing getting near one of them...but truly I'm more afraid of cicadas, but we have so many of those we would need an army of the wasps to get rid of them, thanks for the comment.

      • profile image

        Angelo52 

        5 years ago

        Seems these wasps, unlike yellow jackets, mostly go around killing other insects - locusts being one as you stated. Guess it's a matter of which you would rather have around - the locust or the wasp.

        At least if they become a nuisance the information provided in your article can help in getting rid of them.

        I'd be careful about using gasoline. Besides the potential for great harm to life and property from burning or even explosion, gasoline is bad for the environment.

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