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Are Cicada Killers Dangerous?

Generally, cicada killers are safe, but there are differences between males and females. The females can sting, but they are usually not aggressive or territorial, like most other wasps. However, if you step on one with bare feet or otherwise disturb them, it’s likely you will get stung – and it can be painful.


Males are more aggressive and will dive-bomb, trying to scare you away form a nest. But they are harmless because they cannot sting. It’s all an act! They are, however, dangerous to cicadas – which is a good thing.


Are Cicada Killers Dangerous to Dogs?

Cicada killers and dogs usually get along. But, if a dog catches a female cicada killer and gets stung, it can be painful and potentially dangerous, due to the venom. When the sting happens in the dog’s mouth, it is considerably more dangerous.


Are Cicada Killers Bad?

Cicada Killers are both bad and beneficial.


The Good Traits

  • Cicada killers are very good pollinators.
  • They are also a “predator insect.” These insects eat pest insects (like spiders and praying mantises do) and provide some natural pest control.
  • They do not damage plants.
  • They are native to Pennsylvania (they are not an invasive insect).


The Bad Traits

  • The female cicada killers can deliver a good sting if you step on one in bare feet or one gets tangled in your clothing.
  • They excavate a considerable amount of soil from their underground tunnels (a lot of people think the tunnels are from rodents). This can disturb and make a mess of your landscape beds – especially when you have a large quantity of these critters.
  • They also burrow in the lawn, and the soil excavation can be pretty bad – especially with large infestations.
  • They can be a huge nuisance. Try having fun at a picnic when dozens of cicada killers are buzzing around your yard.
  • Skunks are attracted to a cicada killer nest and like to dig them up to eat the cicadas.


If you have questions about how dangerous cicada killers are, feel free to text or call us at 610-944-0408. Green Giant can help with cicada killers as well as with bee and wasp removal.


Where do Cicada Killers Live?

If you see cicada killers flying around but can’t find their tunnels, look in areas with soft soil, mulch beds, or a lawn with weak, thin grass. A thick lawn will discourage the cicada killers from tunneling in the grass.


The tunnels usually have a U-shaped collar of loose soil around the opening. They are most often in full sun areas that won’t get flooded by rain – we often see the tunnels on hills.


What do Cicada Killers do with the Cicadas? (It’s a Crazy Story!)

  • The females will sting and paralyze the cicada.
  • The Cicada Killer will pick up the paralyzed cicada and fly it to a tunnel.
  • The females will then inject their eggs into the live cicada!
  • The cicada will become the food source for the young cicada killers.
  • When the eggs hatch, these little darlings will feast on the (still alive) cicadas!


If you see cicada killers around your home, don’t risk a human or a dog getting stung. Have one of our expert technicians help you get rid of them. We take all pest problems seriously and are committed to helping you ASAP.