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Cicada Killers in Medfield, MA

Sightings Category: Cicada Killers

Cicada Killers in Medfield, MA

Hi Gerry,
Let me know if these are the Cicada Killers. As you can see by the pictures, we haven’t gotten much use out of the sand box in a while. It’s more of a bee habitat. There seem to be more the 50 holes throughout the sandbox.

-Kevin

Date Posted: 2006-07-31 Comments: (2) Show Comments Hide Comments

Comments

Posted By: Massachusetts Cicadas | On: 2010-12-13 | Website:

Hi Kevin
First of all thanks for the picture. Your picture speaks volumes. I have good news and I have bad news.

The good news (for me anyway) is that these ARE NOT cicada killers.

They are in the same family as cicada killers known as Sphecidae (digger wasps) these are more likely Nyssoninae. They do look similar, only Cicada killers have 3 yellow bands on the abdomen, Nyssoninae can have 4 or 5 like yours depending on species. Also the legs on your specimens are yellow, on Cicada killers the legs are orange.

The bad news is that you got to keep your children away from these wasps as they can be unpredictable and the females can get very agitated if you go too close to the nests. These Nyssoninae prefer sandy areas like sand boxes and sand dunes and the colonies can get big. Which fits right in with what you are experiencing.

Cicada killer's entrances to their burrows have a huge mountain of sand whereas these wasps just have holes in the sand and that's it. Their behavior is essentially the same where cicada killers prey solely on cicadas, Nyssoninae wasps will bring back flies and similar sized insects. The females lay eggs on the captured insects and the eggs hatch and the larvae eat the prey.

As far as extermination, I haven't a clue but at the very least I would wait till fall or winter then pull the sandbox out and try not to put another one in as they would only come back. If you don't have one already get some swings and a jungle-gym. Or if you have the money, maybe contact an exterminator.

So, in conclusion, these are not cicada killers. You are very smart to keep your children out of the area.

I hope I didn't make the situation worse for you at the very least I was able to identify these wasps for you and so send you in the right direction.

Good luck.

Posted By: Kevin | On: 2010-12-13 | Website:

Thanks Gerry,

Wow. You certainly know your stuff. Very impressive and insightful. And thanks for the warning. Fortunately, the sandbox is in a fenced in area that can be closed off. Also, I went out just a few minutes ago and covered the entire sandbox with a plastic tarp. I was able to get it nice and tight around the wooden rims. It’s funny how all of them go in for the evening. If they weren’t agitated before, they certainly will be now when they realize they’re trapped. When I told my wife about how the wasps lay their eggs on the captured insects, this sealed the deal on getting rid of the sand box all together. She was thoroughly disgusted with the thought of larvae and dead bugs under the sand. And we do have a swing set, so I think we’ll be all set. Thanks again for all your help. Glad to see that my bees weren’t contributing to the death of innocent cicadas.

Take Care,

Kevin

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