Since we’ve entered mid-summer, you may have noticed gargantuan wasps invading your turf. These wasps are known as cicada killers or ground digging wasps and grow to an astounding 3 inches in size. While they appear to be very menacing, experts swear they are harmless. Who really wants to get close enough to find out? Not me.
There are several ways to eliminate this pest and give yourself peace of mind, without having to hire an exterminator. It can be done safely with the proper planning and the right tools to help you in your endeavor.
First, know your enemy. The cicada killer wasps are usually in sight during the day because they are hunting their primary prey–cicada, or locusts. Usually, they return to their homes at night.
Their homes consist of holes about the size of a nickel in bare spots in your yard. Sometimes a mound of loose dirt will be piled up around the entrance to their homes. The holes are usually 6-8 inches deep and house the female and her babies.
If you see a few ground digger wasps, or cicada killer wasps as they are referred to, buzzing around your backyard, you will most definitely know. They are much larger than regular wasps, though they resemble them in appearance. They fly extremely fast and dive extremely close to you when you are out in the yard.
During the day, locate the holes or mounds of dirt where these cicada killers dwell at night and wait. Once they have returned to their homes at night, take a flashlight and hornet spray and prepare for your attack. It is probably better to use hornet spray that kills on contact and sprays up to 15 feet, in case one of these monsters tries to come at you. Once you’ve located their holes by flashlight, spray an ample amount of the hornet spray down the hole, keeping in mind that it is at least 6 inches deep.
An alternative method, involves using boric acid instead of hornet spray. Boric acid can be purchased in liquid form at the drugstore for less than $20, and supposedly eliminates the wasps and their offspring. This ensures that next year newly hatched cicada killers don’t invade your yard as well. When using the boric acid, again, locate the holes at nighttime and pour an ample amount of the boric acid down each hole.
After you have attacked the wasps in their homes during the night, you should notice a decrease in the numbers flying around daily. After three days, all the wasps should have been eliminated. If after three days, you are still seeing wasps, you must have missed some of the dens.
Once you have attacked each hole with either boric acid or hornet spray, the key to keeping these giant wasps from returning is to keep your yard saturated with water. These insects don’t build homes in places where the ground is moist. Laying a piece of sod over the old holes and watering it is also a good idea, because the wasps prefer bare earth to dig their dens.
If you have tried to eliminate these wasps to no avail, or there are too many present to eliminate yourself, then you may have to call in an exterminator for professional help. The only disadvantage to hiring a professional is the increased cost.