Expert: Cicada-killing wasps look scary but leave them alone

Des Moines, Iowa – Noisy cicadas have been buzzing around Iowa for weeks and now cicada-killing wasps are also circling our yards, picking off the big bugs. Entomologist Jody Green says the wasps are not aggressive like bees or hornets, but they are hunters and it’s only the female of the species that goes after cicadas.

The cicada killers may be up to two inches long with black with yellow markings on the body and rusty-colored wings. They’re the largest wasps in Iowa. Green says the male wasps typically aren’t the attackers but they might give you a good scare.

This type of wasp burrows into the ground, sometimes as deep as two feet.

A better course of action is just to leave the wasps alone and they’ll usually treat you likewise.

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