We had three of these monsters appear around our rear deck last summer. I tried to find their hive to kill them, but they appeared to live under ground in tunnels. I ended up killing them with my tennis racket and never saw any others for the rest of the year.
Unfortunately this year they are back with a vengeance. So far I've probably killed close to a dozen of these, but can regularly see half a dozen or so flying about the back deck area and yard.
I called a couple pest exterminators, and the first couldn't even tell me what species it was and even thought it may be some kind of giant yellow jacket. The second properly identified it as a Sphecius Speciosus AKA Cicada Killer.
Here's what A&M's Entomology database had listed:
| One of the largest wasps encountered; Cicada killers nest in sandy areas, digging burrows about 6 inches deep before turning and extending another 6 or more inches. Tunnels may be branched and end in one or more globular cells. Females are solitary, each provisioning their own nests even though they appear to be nesting in a common area. Nest entrances are often accompanied by a pile of soil excavated from the burrow that may disturb turfgrass. |
Cicada killers are active during July and August, coinciding with the appearance of cicadas which they attack, sting and paralyze. They then fly, glide or drag the cicadas back to their nests, provisioning the cells in their burrows. Larvae feed only on cicadas, and the adult will feed on flower nectar.
Winter is spent in the larval or pupal stage. Adults emerge in the summer, feed, mate and produce new nesting burrows. The female provisions each cell in the burrow with one or more paralyzed cicadas on which an egg is deposited, and then seals it. The larva hatches from the egg develops through several molts (instars) before pupating inside a woven, spindle-shaped brown case measuring up to 1 1/4 inch long. One generation occurs per year.
Large numbers of females nesting in localized areas such as sandy embankments can be a nuisance and cause concern because of their large size, low flight and nesting activities.