Since we entered the height of summer, you may have noticed gigantic wasps invading your territory. These wasps are known as cicada killers or digger wasps and they grow to a staggering 3 inches. While they appear to be very threatening, experts swear they are harmless. Who really wants to get close enough to find out? I do not.
There are several ways to eliminate this pest and have peace of mind, without having to hire an exterminator. It can be done safely with proper planning and the right tools to help you in your endeavor.
First, know your enemy. Cicada killer wasps are usually on view during the day because they are hunting their primary prey: cicadas or locusts. They usually return to their homes at night.
Their houses consist of nickel-sized holes in empty spots in their yard. Sometimes a mound of loose earth accumulates around the entrance to their houses. The holes are usually 6 to 8 inches deep and house the female and her young.
If you see some earth-digger wasps, or cicada killer wasps as they’re known, buzzing around your backyard, you’ll definitely know. They are much larger than regular wasps, although they do resemble them in appearance. They fly extremely fast and dive very close to you when you are in the garden.
During the day, locate the holes or mounds of earth where these cicada killers dwell at night and wait. Once they’ve returned home for the night, grab a flashlight and hornet spray and prepare for their attack. It’s probably best to use a hornet spray that kills on contact and sprays up to 15 feet, in case one of these monsters tries to attack you. Once you’ve located their holes with a flashlight, spray a large amount of hornet spray into the hole, keeping in mind that it’s at least 6 inches deep.
An alternative method involves the use of boric acid instead of wasp spray. Boric acid can be purchased in liquid form at the drug store for less than $20 and is supposed to kill wasps and their young. This ensures that next year the newly hatched cicada killers do not invade your garden as well. When using boric acid, again locate the holes overnight and pour a large amount of boric acid into each hole.
After you have attacked wasps in your homes at night, you should notice a decrease in the number of wasps flying daily. After three days, all the wasps should have been killed. If after three days you still see wasps, you must have missed some of the burrows.
Once you’ve attacked each hole with boric acid or wasp spray, the key to keeping these giant wasps from coming back is to keep your garden saturated with water. These insects do not build houses in places where the soil is moist. It’s also a good idea to lay a piece of grass over old holes and water it down, because wasps prefer bare soil to dig their burrows.
If you have tried to remove these wasps without success, or if there are too many present to remove yourself, you may need to call an exterminator for professional help. The only downside to hiring a professional is the increased cost.